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Sermon I. — EzekieVs Vision of the Dry Bones. 
Come from the four winds, O breath ! and breathe upon these slain, that they 
may live, Ezekiel xxxvii, 9 ? a ge 9 

Sermon II. — National Peace the Gift of God. 
Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us : for thou also hast wrought all our works 
in us, Isaiah xxvi, 12 20 

Sermon III- — Religious Instruction an essential Part of Education. 

And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them : and when he had taken 
him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such chil- 
dren in my name, receiveth me, Mark ix, 36, 37 33 

Sermon IV. — Man Magnified by the Divine Regard. 
What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him ? and that thou shouldest set 
thine heart upon him ? Job vii, 17 48 

Sermon V. — The Religious Instruction of the Slaves in the West India 
Colonies advocated and defended. 
Honour all men, 1 Peter ii, 17 63 

Sermon VI. — God glorified in Good Men. 
And they glorified God in me, Galatians i, 24 89 

Sermon VII. — Qualifications for the Christian Ministry. 
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear ; but of power, and of love, and 
,of a sound mind, 2 Timothy i, 7 , 107 

Sermon VIII. — God with Us. 
for in him we live, and move, and have our being, Acts xvii, 28 , . 130 

Sermon IX.— The Miracles of Christ. 

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which 

are not written jn this book : but these are written, that ye might believe that 

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God ; and that believing ye might have life through 

his name, John xx, 30, 31 . , 145 

Sermon X.— r-The Evils of Ignorance. 
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, Hosea iv, 6 . . . 156 

Sermon XI. — Religious Meditation. 
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide, Gen. xxiv, 63 164 

Sermon XII. — St. Paufs Confidence in the Gospel. 

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ ; for it is the power of God unto 

salvation to every one that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith : as it is written, 

The just shall live by faith, Romans i, 16, 17 173 

Sermon XIII. — All Things made for the Son of God 
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, 
visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or 
powers : all things were created by him, and for him, Colossians i, 16 . 183 

Sermon XIV. — The Enemies of Christ vanquished. 
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine 
.enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion : 
rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day 
of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning : thou 
bast the dew of thy youth, PsaUn ex, 1-3 . . . . . . . 194 


Sermon XV. — Christianity the Wisdom of God in a Mystery. 
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, 
which God ordained before the world unto our glory, 1 Cor. ii, 7 Page 204 

Sermon XVI. — The Building of the Temple. 
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so will- 
ingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given 
thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers : 
our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O Lord our 
God, &c, 1 Chronicles xxix, 14-18 214 

Sermon XVII. — Excitements to Missionary Effort. 
Cast thy bread upon the waters : for thou shalt find it after many days. Give 
a portion to seven> and also to eight ; for thou knowest not what evil shall be 
upon the earth. If the clouds be full of rain, &c, Ecclesiastes xi, 1-6 . 225 

Sermon XVIII. — Christian Citizenship. 

For our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we look for the Saviour, 

the Lord Jesus Christ : who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned 

like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even 

to subdue all things unto himself, Philippians iii, 20, 21 ... . 237 

Sermon XIX. — The Resurrection of the Human Body. 

For our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we look for the Saviour, 

the Lord Jesus Christ : who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned 

like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even 

to subdue all things unto himself, Philippians iii, 20, 21 ... . 244 

Sermon XX. — The destroying Angel arrested. 
And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward 
him : and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon 
the ground. And Araunah said, &c, 2 Samuel xxiv, 20-25 . . . 254 

Sermon XXI. — The Death of Stephen. 

When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed 
on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stead, 
fastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right 
hand of God, and said, &c, Acts vii, 54-60 ...... 267 

Sermon XXII. — The Incarnation of the Eternal Word. 
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, 
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth, John 
i. 14 274 

Sermon XXIII. — The Triumph of the Gospel. 
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and 
maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place, 2 Corinthians 
ii, 14 280 

Sermon XXIV. — Promises obtained through Faith. 
Who through faith obtained promises, Hebrews xi, 33 . . . 289 

Sermon XXV. — The Dedication of the Temple. 
Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be 
attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. Now therefore arise, O Lord 
God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength : let thy priests, 
O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness, 
2 Chronicles vi, 40, 41 294 

Sermon XXVI. — The Destruction of Idolatry. 
Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and 
the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens, 
Jeremiah x, 11 303 


Sermon XXVII. — Christian Devotedness. 
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether 
we live, we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord : 
whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's, Romans xiv, 7, 8 Page 314 

Sermon XXVIII. — The Servant of God dismissed and rewarded. 
But go thou thy way till the end be : for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at 
the end of the days, Daniel xii, 13 323 

Sermon XXIX. — The Conversion of Saul. 
Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou 
earnest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the 
Holy Ghost, Acts ix, 17 335 

Sermon XXX. — The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ. 
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge 
,of Christ Jesus my Lord, Philippians iii, 8 ...... . 341 

Sermon XXXI. — Glorying in the Cross. 
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross-of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
Galatians vi, 14 346 

Sermon XXXII. — The Tree of Life. 

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the 
midst of the paradise of God, Revelation ii, 7 . . . . . . 354 

Sermon XXXIII. — Rachel weeping for her Children. 

In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourn, 
jng, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they 
are not, Matthew ii, 18 359 

Sermon XXXIV. — The Transfiguration of Christ. 
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bring 
eth thein up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them, 
Matthew xvii, 1, 2 364 

Sermon XXXV. — The Design of the Christian Ministry. 
Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for • 
J ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me ? Acts x, 29 . . 370 

Sermon XXXVI. — The Song of the Redeemed. 
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four 
ixeasts, and the elders : and no man could learn that song but the hundred and 
forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth, Rev. xiv, 3 375 

Sermon XXXVII. — The Sacrifice of Christ. 
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit 
offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to 
serve the living God ? Hebrews ix, 14 ....... 381 

Sermon XXXVIII. — The Man whose Name is the Branch. 

Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The 
BRANCH ; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of 
the Lord : even he shall build the temple of the Lord ; and he shall bear the glory, 
a»d shall sit and rule upon his throne ; and he shall be a priest upon his throne : 
and the counsel of peace shall be between them both, Zech. vi, 12, 13 . 386 

Sermon XXXIX. — The final Deliverance of Believers. 

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the 
sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by 
reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself 
also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty 
of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and tra. 
yajleth u» pain together until now, And not only they, but ourselves also, which 


have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, 
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body, Romans viii, 
19-23 Page 393 

Sermon XL. — The Altar of God. 
Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy, Psalm 
xliii, 4 398 

Sermojv' XLI. — The right State of the Heart. 
And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of 
Rechab coming to meet him : and he saluted him, and said unto him, Is thine 
heart right? 2 Kings x, 15 . . .402 

Sermon XLII. — The Inheritance of the Saints. 
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of 
the inheritance of the saints in light, Colossians i, 12 . . . . . 406 

Sermon XLIII. — The Coming of the King of Z ion. 
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion ; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem : be. 
hold, thy King cometh unto thee : he is just, and having salvation ; lowly, and 
riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the 
chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall 
be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen : and his dominion shall 
be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for 
thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the 
pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope : 
even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee, Zech. ix, 9-12 410 

Sermon XLIV. — The Choice of Moses. 

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of 
Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, 
than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ 
greater riches than the treasures in Egypt : for he had respect unto the recom- 
pense of the reward, Hebrews xi, 24-26 ....... 422 

Sermon XLV. — The Coming of God's Kingdom. 

Thy kingdom come, Matthew vi, 10 426 

Sermon XLVI. — Religious Worship. 

For he is thy Lord; and worship thou him, Psalm xlv, 11 . . . 438 

Sermon XLVII. — The Gain of the World and the Loss oj the Soul 
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own 
soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? Matthew xvi, 26 443 

Sermon XLVIII.— The Life of Faith. 

And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me, and gave himself for me, Galatians ii, 20 . . . 450 

Sermon XLIX. — The Gospel of the Kingdom. 
And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a wit- 
ness unto all nations ; and then shall the end come, Matthew xxiv, 14 . 453 

Sermon L. — Emmanuel, God with Us. 

And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with 
us, Matthew i, 23 457 

Sermon LI. — The Abolition of Satan's Dominion. 
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also him- 
self likewise took part of the sajne ; that through death he might destroy him 
that had the power of death, that is the devil ; and deliver them who through fear 
of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, Hebrews ii, 14, 15 . 460 


Sermon I. — EzekieVs Vision of the Dry Bones* 

Preached in Albion-street Chapel, Leeds, at the formation of the Methodist Mit- 
sionary Society for the Leeds District, October 6, 1813. 

"Come from the four winds, O breath! and breathe upon these slain, that they 
may live," Ezekiel xxxvii, 9. 

History acquaints us with the past, and our faculties of observation 
spread before us the scenes of present time ; and these, in the usual 
course of things, are the only sources of information which are open 
to man. But it has pleased God, in this book of revelation, to give us 
access to a third, and to spread the view into the future : not only to 
enlarge the sphere of knowledge behind us and on each side ; but 
before us, and to " show to his servants what shall be hereafter." 

This is done by prophecy, — a large and important part of the sacred 
volume, which stands, not only as an illustrious demonstration of the 
prescience of its Author, but a proof of his goodness to us ; for our 
improvement and happiness are thereby equally promoted. An ancient 
writer remarks, that he who is acquainted with the history of past ages 
lives twice. With equal truth may it be affirmed, that he whose mind 
is also enlightened with the views of holy writ lives thrice. His ex- 
istence is extended beyond its natural bounds, and he is present to 
future events, the highest and most interesting in the economy of 
Divine Providence. 

We are not, however, to suppose that our view of the future, even 
after the most attentive study of the prophetical books, will be per- 
fectly distinct and satisfactory. There is a moral necessity that pro- 
phecy should be surrounded with a certain haze and indistinctness. 
Man is to be the instrument of executing the decrees of Heaven ; and 
it is a principle of the Divine government to offer no violence to his 
moral agency, and a peculiar glory of infinite wisdom to accomplish its 
purposes by his free volitions. It seems, therefore to be a mistake in 
many persons to expect to ascertain the exact times and manner in 
which the predictions of Heaven will be accomplished. Time is the 
grand expounder of prophecy ; and as far as relates to particulars, 
perhaps time alone. The value of prophecy is not, however, on this 
account diminished. In this partial form it fully answers the design 
of God, by supporting the confidence of good men in the ultimate tri- 
umphs of their religion, in quickening their exertions, and relieving 
their anxieties. The outline, the bolder features of the grand plan of 
the Divine government present so many enlightened points in the dark- 
ness of futurity, though the minuter parts retire into shades of various 
depth. In the vista thus opened into distant ages we perceive truth 
and righteousness, after long and painful struggles, finally triumphing ; 

10 ezekiel's vision. [sebmon I. 

discord subsiding into peace ; and a long-rejected Saviour effectually 
asserting his rights, and bending the world to his dominion in mercy. 
The words of the text are connected with a well-known prophecy 
respecting the restoration of Israel under the sublime idea of the 
resurrection of the dry bones of a host of dead. If the prediction re- 
ferred at all to the restoration of the Jews from the Babylonian cap- 
tivity, it could only be in a very low sense. The terms in which it is 
expressed plainly indicate an event more glorious in its accomplish- 
ment, more permanent in its effects, and more spiritual in its nature. 
It connects itself with the glory of the latter day. The Jews are now 
the dry bones in the valley, and their conversion to Christ will be their 
resurrection. On this principal application of the prophecy we shall 
not now dwell. Apostasy from God, whether in Jew or Gentile, is 
followed substantially by the same consequences ; the methods of 
Divine grace in recovering men from ruin are, in all climes and ages, 
usually the same ; and we shall therefore consider the prophecy, 

I. As affording us a striking description of the religious state of the 
heathen world. 

II. As directing to the means to be made use of to effect its mys- 
tical resurrection. 

III. As marking the certain success of its application. 

I. 1. The persons made the subject of this prophetic vision are 
represented as dead. The prophet is led by the Spirit to a valley filled 
with the dishonoured r.elics of the dead. To be dead is to be in a state 
which excites regret and sympathy. Who can refrain a sigh when 
the noble human fabric is stretched with the clods of the valley, and 
the warm pulse of life subsides into the coldness and corruption of 
death ? But a deeper death is here contemplated, — the death of souls. 
The spirit is here invaded by the destroyer,, and the higher part of our 
nature falls the victim. In this, however, we speak morally. The 
immortal spirit cannot die ; but, as in the death of the body, the matter 
of which it is composed is not annihilated, though the parts are dis- 
solved, so in the moral death of souls the spirit exists, but it exists dis- 
organized and corrupted. In Scripture language, to be without know- 
ledge is to be dead; because it is knowledge which gives activity to 
the powers of the mind. To lose the image of God is io die ; because 
as death destroys the human form, sin destroys truth, holiness, and 
love, in which the image of God in man consists. Tnis is the unhappy 
case of the heathen. They have turned the '' truth of God into a 
lie ;" their religious opinions are composed of kbsurd fables ; and the 
principles of morality being left without support, have been all borne 
down by the tide of sensual appetite and ungoverned passion. Igno- 
rance the most profound, imaginations thw most extravagant, and crimes 
the most daring, have ever characterized " the world which lies in" the 
power of " the wicked one." But though all this be awfully true, it is 
not on these circumstances that we would principally fix our attention. 
There is another and more alarming truth to be told. The heathen 
world is judicially dead, under the wrath and curse of almighty God. 
The law which they have violated turns the edge of the sword of jus- 
tice against them ; the conscience which they have abused renders 
them miserable in their crimes ; and as death expels their myriads 
from this state of being, they appear before that God of judgment who 


hath said, " The abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and 
sorcerers, and idolaters, shall have their part in the burning lake, which 
is the second death." 

Were these solemn truths well fixed in our minds, they would stand 
in the place of a volume of argument to induce us to support mission- 
ary institutions. They would burst at once the bands of selfishness, and 
" draw out our souls" to them who are perishing for lack of knowledge. 
The contemplation of the imminent danger of so great a portion of our 
fellow men would melt at onc« the frigidness of our natures, and cause 
our affections to flow forth in strong prayers, and still stronger exer- 
tions, in behalf of our brethren in distant lands, who have " forgotten 
the God of their salvation, and have not been mindful of the rock of 
their strength." 

To counteract these generous feelings, and to stop the stream of 
pity in its very fountain, we are aware that the doctrine of the safety 
of the heathen has been confidently affirmed ; and perhaps we also 
have too often slumbered over our duty, lulled by the drone of that 
doating and toothless theology which treats sin with the cruel tender- 
ness of an Eli to his sons, and employs itself rather in drawing extra- 
vagant pictures of the mercy of God, than in supporting the just rights 
of his government. Resting in plausible general principles, which are 
never pursued to their consequences, there are many who appear to 
consider the Divine Being under some obligation of justice to throw 
open the gates of salvation to the whole world of polluted heathen ; 
thus making vice a kind of passport to heaven, and ignorance a better 
security for the eternal happiness of men than the full display of the 
glorious doctrines and the impressive motives of our religion. The 
true question is among such persons often mistaken. It is not, whether 
it is possible for heathens to be saved, — that we grant : but that cir- 
cumstance proves the actual state of the heathen world to be more 
dangerous than if no sueh possibility could be proved ; for the possi- 
bility of their salvation indisputably shows them to be the subjects of 
moral government, and therefore liable to an aggravated punishment in 
case of disobedience. The true question is, Are the heathens, immo- 
ral and idolatrous as they are, actually safe 1 On this solemn subject 
we are not left to the decisions of human authority. Inspiration itseh 
has decided it ; and when human opinions and Divine revelation come 
into opposition, you will not hesitate to say, " Let God be true, and 
every man a liar." The reasoning of St. Paul, in the first chapter of 
the Epistle to the Romans, is of universal application ; it bears no 
mark of particularity, and there is nothing in the state of the heathen 
of our day to render it less applicable to them than to the heathen of 
his own. His conclusion is, that for all their crimes and idolatries 
" they are without excuse." They are ignorant ; but it is because they 
" do not like to retain God in their knowledge." They have a " law 
written on their hearts ;" but they violate it. They have a conscience 
which " accuses or excuses them ;" but they disregard it, and " there- 
fore they are without excuse." This is the conclusion of an infallible 
teacher, against which it is vain to reason ; and from this it follows, 
that, if the fact of general and perhaps universal depravity of principle 
and action among the heathens be proved, then another conclusion of 
the apostle must follow of course, " that the wrath of God is revealed 


from heaven" against them ; that the valley is full of souls, dead to 
God, and under the sentence of an everlasting condemnation. 

2. But this is not the only melancholy view which the subject ex- 
hibits. The number of the dead forms another part of the picture, — 
" the valley was full of bones." The prophet " passed by, round about ;" 
he viewed the dreary scene with attention ; and, " behold, there were 
very many." Such, brethren, is the picture which the. world presents 
to our view. The slain of sin are innumerable. The valley as we 
trace it seems to sweep to an unlimited extent, and yet every where it 
is full ! The whole earth is that valley. Where is the country where 
transgression stalks not with daring and destructive activity ? where it 
has not covered and polluted the soil with its victims ? In some places, 
it is true, we behold "the few who are saved ;" but in many large and 
crowded nations we should look even for that few in vain ; and the 
words of the psalmist might, after the most charitable investigation, 
prove even literally applicable, " They are all gone out of the way ; 
there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Let us pass over Europe, 
whose population bears but a small proportion to that of the globe, 
though there chiefly the Christian name is known. Let us not even 
stop to inquire how many bones lie unburied and dry in that valley ; 
or, if in many instances bone has been united to bone, in the profes- 
sion of true religion, of how many the prophet would still say, " There 
is no breath" of vital religion " in them." Let us take our post of ob- 
servation elsewhere.. If we turn to the east, there the peopled val- 
leys of Asia stretch before us ; but peopled with whom ? With the 
dead ! That quarter of the earth alone presents five hundred millions 
of souls, with but few exceptions, without a God, save gods that sanc^ 
tion vice ; without a sacrifice, save sacrifices of folly and blood ; with- 
out a priest, except a race of jugglers, impostors, and murderers ; 
without holy days, except such as debase by their levity, corrupt by 
their sensuality, or harden by their cruelty. With a little difference as 
to religious rites, the same description is applicable to the thirty mil- 
lions of the race of Ham, and to the aborigines of the continent and 
islands of the new world. This view, it is true, is somewhat relieved 
by a few rays of light shining here and there amid the gloom ; by the 
cheering sight of a few prophets of the Lord sent forth by the piety of 
Christians, prophesying to the dry bones, and surrounded by a few liv- 
ing men, the fruits of their mission. But however hopeful this gleam 
of success is, the affecting fact is, the valley is still full of dead. It is 
only in a few places on its verge that the prophets of the Lord are 
seen ; only within a small compass that their voice is heard. On the 
rest of the valley the gloom of despair settles, and sin and death hold 
undisturbed dominion. No sound of salvation breaks the horrid silence, 
and no " shaking is heard among the bones." 

3. To the number of the dead the prophet adds another circumstance, 
— " they were unburied :" the destructive effects of sin, the sad ravages 
of death, lay exposed and open to the sun. So open and exposed have 
been the unbelief and blasphemies of the Jews, and the idolatry and 
vices of the Gentiles. We need not dig up the earth to discover the 
dead : they strew the surface of the ground. This representation 
strongly marks the dreadful maturity of sin among apostate nations, 
and the absence of all those checks which in countries better instructed 


restrain those evils which are not wholly cured. A great moralist has 
truly observed, that " where there is shame there may be virtue." — - 
What, then, shall we say where there is no shame ? The habits of sin 
are confirmed, and all virtue is extinct. The pagan world did not, 
however, arrive at this maturity of vice all at once. Its idolatrous and 
vicious propensities had to contend with the restraints of remaining 
truth and goodness probably for many ages. Thus we read in the 
book of Job, that, notwithstanding the tendency to polytheism in his 
day, some upright magistrates remained, who punished idolatry by law, 
justly considering it as a crime against civil society, involving, as it 
ever has done, the practice of the worst vices, as well as against Hea- 
ven. " If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in 
brightness, and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath 
kissed my hand, this were an iniquity to be punished by the judge ; for 
I should have denied the God that is above." The influence of truth, 
even without the aid of the civil magistrate, and though existing in but 
ismall remains, to check this degrading and offensive propensity, is also 
strikingly expressed in a part of the book from which our text is taken. 
Ezekiel was conducted in vision into a " secret chamber," where " the 
ancients of the house of Israel" stood " in the dark" before their idols 
and abominable portraitures, and burned incense to them. The blush 
of shame still reddened on their cheek, and they performed their abomi- 
nations " in the dark." Vice shrinks in the presence of purity ; the 
works of darkness hate the light ; and this affords a powerful motive 
to our endeavours fo introduce the Gospel into idolatrous countries. — 
Reproof will, again, excite shame, shame will lead to secrecy, and 
secrecy of practice will ultimately give place to reformation. At pre- 
sent, however, such restraints do not exist. They have long since 
been borne down, and error and vice, long triumphant, have grown too 
bold for privacy. Yes ; for ages the dead have kin unburied, presenting 
nothing but stench and corruption to the pure heavens above them. — 
They have " worshipped devils," and hallowed crimes, and have not 
been ashamed. In one place a painted idol usurps the honours of 
" God, blessed for ever ;" and in another the obscene prophet is re^ 
vered as a Divine messenger. Every where they have refused " to 
retain God in their knowledge ;" they have been " given up to vile 
affections ;" and have reached that climax of all iniquity, not only to 
do " such things" themselves, but to " take pleasure in them that do 

4. The prophet closes his description of the state of the dead, by 
adding, that " the bones were very dry." Under this strong figure the 
hopelessness of their condition is represented. Thus the Jews, intro- 
duced in verse 11, are made to say, " Our bones are dried up, our hope 
is lost ;" and the state of the heathen must, at least, be equally hope- 
less. As far as mere human means and human probabilities go, " there 
is no hope." From themselves it is certain there is none. They have 
wandered too far to find the fold again ; and what renders their case 
still more desperate is, they have no inclination to seek it. It is the 
nature of sin to infatuate as well as to corrupt ; and to pervert, that it 
may destroy. " They put darkness for light, light for darkness, good 
for evil, and evil for good ;" and " how then shall they be healed ?" — 
If, however, absolutely speaking, there were no hope of their recovery, 


our exertions would be superfluous, and our meeting on the present 
occasion absurd. There is hope, not from man, but from God. Never- 
theless, we feel no inclination to conceal the difficulties which lie in 
the way of that great work which we are met this day to promote. — 
The " bones are dry, very dry." Superstition is a power of almost 
incalculable energy. It grasps both the hopes and fears of our nature ; 
and has its principal seat in the imagination, — a power of the mind the 
most difficult to purge, when polluted, and to discipline, when it has- 
obtained the mastery. If, therefore, the Gospel again prevail, it must 
again " cast down high imaginations," and break up inveterate habits 
of sin. As of old, interest, and pleasure, and power, will be arrayed 
against it ; and " the kings and judges of the earth will take counsel 
together against the Lord and against his Anointed." Perhaps the firsS 
effect of the Gospel in some places may again be " not to send peace r 
but a sword ;" and of this we are certain, that no power of earth or hell 
will be unemployed against its success. All these difficulties must be 
granted. They argue nothing against the power of God ; but they truly 
prove that more than human power is requisite for the work ; that all 
calculations founded on natural principles forbid our enterprise ; and 
they support the representation of the prophet, " that the bones were 
very dry." 

Such is the state of the heathen world ; but the prophet's vision, 

II. Points out the means by which its mystical resurrection is to be 
effected : " Prophesy upon these dry bones, and say unto them, ye 
dry bones hear the word of the Lord." 

Who can read this without immediately adverting to that similar 
command of the Saviour, when, after his resurrection, he looked with 
compassion upon a world " dead in trespasses and sins ;" and said to 
the prophets of his own dispensation, " Go into all the world, and preach 
the Gospel to every creature." Go, traverse every part of the vale of 
death, and say, " O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord." 

1. This direction intimates, that the ministry of the word is the grand 
means appointed by God for the salvation of the world. 

This is a truth which cannot be impressed too deeply upon our minds. 
We live in an age of bold speculation ; and the speculations of many 
on this subject have been conducted with too little regard for the autho- 
rity of God. If, however, we have a flam and full direction from Him 
who is wisdom itself, what need we more ? Why stop to question, 
when it is our duty to obey ? But opinions have conflicted on a sub- 
ject to which revelation has given certainty, und the recorded judgment 
of Heaven has been neglected in the passion for theory among men. 
Some have demurred to missionary efforts, because, in their opinion, 
heathen nations ought first to be civilized. But where are the apostles 
of civilization to be found ? Who will cross seas, and traverse continents, 
to teach them arts, and laws y and science ? Or are they to be left in 
their wretchedness till the boundaries of the civilized world, pushed 
out by the slow process of commerce or conquest, shall at length reach 
them 1 But the argument, if good for any thing, is only very partially 
applicable ; for there are but few, very few, perhaps none, of the hea- 
then so completely savage as not to be able to comprehend the main 
doctrines and duties of Christianity, when once their language is under- 
stood by their teachers. When Christianity is introduced, civilization 


follows of course ; and the desired end is reached by the direct instead 
of the circuitous road. Religion is the most efficient instrument of 
civilization. It is that which marks the distinctions between right and 
wrong with certainty, and therefore gives birth to good laws ; it adds 
to human hopes and fears the solemn sanctions of eternity, andj by giving 
force to conscience, ensures their better observance ; and it is the 
parent of morality, industry, and public spirit, the foundation and the 
top-stone, the strength and the sinews, of all well-ordered society. 

Others have looked for the amelioration of the human race from the 
progress of science. But they forget that science affords no cure for 
moral evil ; and that, when unallied with true religion, it must prove a 
curse, and not a blessing. Knowledge is power ; and. like all other 
great powers, it is injurious and destructive when undirected. It is 
only by the influence of moral principles that it can receive its proper 
direction. Without this the enlarged capabilities of the mind become 
solely the instruments of ungoverned passions. This is not presump- 
tion ; it is the dictate of experience. Greece and Rome give it their 
joint testimony. " The world by wisdom knew not God ;" and in pro- 
portion to the advance of refinement, and the cultivation of science, 
both Greece and Rome sunk the deeper into the pollutions of super, 
stition and vice; 

Another class of speculatists would wait until wars and revolutions 
have broken up old systems of despotism, and introduced political 
liberty, before any means are taken to spread the Gospel. Here is 
another attempt to build the pyramid upon its point. In vain do men 
expect liberty without virtue ; and where that exists, largely diffused 
through a people* oppression will be no more. It is in the religion of 
Christ, which ascertains all the relations of man, fixes the duties of all 
ranks, and enforces them by the highest motives, that we are to look 
for the principles of good government, as well as of civilization and 
science. It is " godliness which is profitable for all things ; having 
the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 

There are still persons of a different character from those just men- 
tioned, whose principles, though not directly opposed to missionary 
efforts, are, in their practical consequences, somewhat unfavourable to 
them. Intent upon the study of prophetic times and seasons, they have 
too much love for the world, not to wish its conversion ; but they have 
little hope of great success in the attempt, until their interpretations of 
certain prophecies are accomplished, and this or that antichrist shall 
have been destroyed. To such persons the words of Christ are full of 
instruction : " It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which 
the Father hath put in his own power." He adds, however, a plain 
and obvious injunction, which cannot be mistaken : " But ye shall be 
witnesses unto me to the uttermost part of the earth." The only note 
of time which the obedient Christian will mark with a distinguishing 
character in his calendar, the only one he will intensely study, is 
opportunity : " As ye have opportunity do good unto all men." That 
opportunity is now before you ; many " great and effectual doors are 
open ;" and the command is, " Prophesy," " Preach my Gospel." 

2. The words may be considered as an injunction on the ministers 
of the Gospel : " Prophesy unto these dry bones." But to whom is 
the message directed ? To missionaries only ? Nay ; but to all who 

W ezektel's VISION. [SERMON I. 

are called " to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of 
Christ." We are not sent only to this place, or to that congregation. 
Our commission is expressed in larger terms : " Go into all the world." 
Every minister is by virtue of this commission to him, this charter to 
the human race, made a minister of man, — a minister of the whole 
world. Providence may mark out for us a particular sphere of labour, 
but our general obligation to the world continues ; and were we called 
by certain indications of duty to the " farthest verge of the green earth," 
our obligation to go is irreversible. This was the view which the great 
apostle took of the obligations of his ministry. "lama debtor both to 
the Greeks and the barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise." — 
It was thus that our venerable founder conceived of the intent of the 
Christian ministry, when, in answer to a complaint of the irregularity 
of his preaching, he replied, " I look upon the whole world as my parish ;" 
and it is thus I am persuaded that my brethren present on this occasion 
conceive of it. We may not, however, be called directly to the work 
of evangelizing the heathen ; but by virtue of our mission to all the 
world we are called to further it ; and this would be our apology, did 
we need one, for calling this assembly together this day to co-operate 
with us. It is in discharge of a solemn duty, and in obedience to our 
Master's command to diffuse the knowledge of his truth to the " ends 
of the earth." But, 

3. The injunction, " Prophesy," respects not only ministers, but you 
also who have a private station in the Church. 

Ministers and people cannot be separated in that which was ever 
intended to be the result of a common effort. Even the Apostle Paul, 
though under a more than ordinary direction, led from place to place 
by the immediate conduct of the Divine hand, working miracles him- 
self, and the subject of frequent miraculous interpositions, never thought 
himself independent of the aids of the great body of Christians. He 
connected himself with their prayers : " Brethren, pray for us, that the 
word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified." " Pray for 
me, that utterance may be given me, to make known the mystery of the 
Gospel." He not only solicited their prayers, but received their gifts. 
They " ministered to his necessities" when employed in his work, 
" prophesying to the dry bones," and calling the dead to life. 

This union between ministers and people in the establishment of 
the kingdom of Christ arises out of the very constitution of the Church. 
In that, as in every other association, there is a common as well as a 
special object In the society of Christians the particular work of 
every member is his own salvation ; but he owes a duty to the whole 
body, which is to promote, by all the means in his power, the common 
end of the association. That common object is to bring "the wicked- 
ness of the wicked to an end, and to establish the just." The Church 
is an association against error, against sin, against . the powers of dark- 
ness throughout the whole earth. The duty of contributing to these 
ends devolves, therefore, upon all. It is not the business of ministers, 
of missionaries only; it is the work of the whole community. This 
public spirit, this expansion of influence and action, St. Paul endea- 
voured to excite among the Christians in his day. " No man," he ob- 
serves, no Christian man, " liveth to himself." In this he only echoed 
the sentiment of his Divine Master : " Ye are the light of the world •" 


not a candle under a bushel, to scatter a feeble light througfr the con- 
tracted space of a family or a neighbourhood, but a sun,- to give light to 
the world. In perfect accordance with these views, not only apostles 
and teachers, but the whole body of disciples are called to be " perfect 
as their Father in heaven is perfect ;" " for he maketh his sun to rise 
upon the' evil and the good, and sendeth his rain upon the just and un- 
just." Delightful picture of the benevolent character intended to dis- 
tinguish a Christian ! He cannot be a selfish man ; he cannot say, 
" My sphere of usefulness is at home only ; the heathen have no 
claims upon me." His sun shines not upon his own habitation only ; 
" its circuit is to the ends of heaven, and there is nothing hid from the 
heat thereof." His rain falls not exclusively upon his own fields-!- but, 
like the rich clouds of heaven wafted by the wind, he scatters the hea- 
venly fulness with which he is replenished over every land to which 
Providence directs him. 

Into this true spirit of your calling, you, my hearers, are invited to' 
enter this day. " Prophesy to the dry bones ;" not personally, but by 
sending forth men of God, with your blessing, your prayers, your 
liberalities. Behold, they are ready to leave their " country and their 
father's house ;" to rend the ties of kindred and of friendship ; to en- 
dure " weariness, and painfulness, andwatchings, and hunger, and thirst, 
and cold, and nakedness," " not counting their lives dear to them," 
for the love of souls. Hasten them away, that they may go to the 
most distant valleys of the dead, and cry, " ye dry bones, hear the 
word of the Lord." 

IIL The prophecy also expresses the certain success which should 
follow the application of the appointed means. 

The prophet prophesied ; he called for the vital breath of heaven ;• 
the same which at the creation of man was " breathed into his ntostrils ;" 
and the result was, " the breath came into them, and they lived, and 
stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army." Not less certain 
shall be the success of the Gospel among the heathen ; and from this 
confidence we derive the life and spirit of our exertions. Despair' 
destroys action ; doubt chills it ; but certainty carries it forth to the 
loftiest enterprises. This certainty is ours. We are engaged in no 
doubtful cause : the kingdom of Christ must prevail ; and the word 
which has given him the heathen for his inheritance is " for evef 
settled in heaven." Our confidence rests, 

1 . On the power of the Gospel. Wherever the Gospel is preached,- 
it is accompanied by a dispensation of the Spirit. " A day of visita- 
tion" is vouchsafed, and all to whom it is sent are put into a capacity 
to understand and obey it. We are not to consider the Gospel as a 
mere system of doctrines, and duties, and hopes, offered coldly to the 
reason of mankind. It is this system, but it is more ; it is the source 
of a Divine influence which exerts itself upon the faculties of those 
who hear it. Its authorized emblem is fire ; and, like that, it has its 
active energy as well as its light and splendour. The word is never 
sent without its Author. " Go,- and preach my Gospel, and lo, I am 
with you ;" not only for personal support, but, as the connection clearly 
indicates, to give success to your labours. The same union subsists; 
between the Spirit and the word. He is sent " to convince the world 
of sin." " The words which I speak unto you they are spirit and they 

Vol. II. 2 

18 ezekiel's vision*. [sermon t. 

are life." Here is our hope of success. The prophet's words were 
attended with the vital breathings of heaven. " God hath made us 
ministers of the Spirit." He goes forth with his servants as the 
cloud of glory before the Israelites, every where preparing their way, 
and shedding a secret but active energy upon the world ; putting all 
men into a state of incipient salvation, assisting their minds to know 
and their wills to choose. If this power be used, they will be saved ; 
if resisted, their condemnation is just. But the employment of means 
so adequate affords a moral certainty of great success. Merely to send 
the Gospel by faithful men to the heathen, is in one sense, to give life 
to the dead. 

To this, which may be called the ordinary power of the Gospel, 
are to be added those extraordinary effusions of the Spirit upon cer- 
tain places and people, at different times, which are usually granted in 
answer to earnest prayer. Thus the prophet is represented as calling 
for the breath of heaven : " Come from the four winds, O breath, and 
breathe upon these slain, that they may live." And let ministers go 
forth, either at home or among the heathens, in the strong spirit of 
prayer ; let the people of God every where join them in supplicating 
those displays of " power and glory" which have been so often " seen 
in the sanctuary ;" and it will be again proved whether He who holds 
the gales of heavenly life, as well as the natural " winds, in his fists," 
will not answer to the call of his " elect who cry day and night unto 
him," and make his word 

" Like mighty winds and torrents fierce ;" 

subduing all opposition, and bearing down the strongest barriers of the 
empire of sin. Thus the Christian dispensation was introduced ; thus 
every great revival of religion has been distinguished ; and thus may 
we expect that God will frequently signalize his own future work in 
the conversion of heathen nations. 

2. Our confidence in the certain success of the Gospel rests also 
upon experience. 

Christianity is not a novelty ; and its efficacy is not now to be put, 
for the first time, to the test of experiment. It is that powerful and 
Divine instrument which has for ages been wielded with glorious 
success in the cause of God and truth. Every part of the civilized 
world, has, at different times, felt its energy, and in every nation it 
has erected trophies of honour and victory. It is worthy of remark 
with what confidence in the efficiency of the Gospel, even in a very 
early period of Christianity, the apostle of the Gentiles prosecuted his 
mission. No expressions of doubt as to the success of his labours 
ever escaped' his lips ; his hand never hesitated in directing the blow, 
through fear that it might be struck in vain against the enemies of the 
cross. " So fight I, not as one that beateth the air." " Now thanks be 
to God which causeth us always to triumph in Christ, and maketh 
manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." " I am 
ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also : for I am 
not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ ; for it is the power of God unto 
salvation to every one that believeth." Emboldened by the experience 
of its power, all the principal agents in those revivals of religion 
which have distinguished different ages of the Church have imbibed 

sermon i ] ezekiel s vision. 20 

the same spirit, and entered upon their mission with a courage which 
nothing but a firm confidence in its final triumphs could inspire. Per- 
haps our success, as ministers, depends greatly upon this confidence 
in the efficacy of the Gospel, which is, in truth, confidence in the pro- 
mised co-operation of God. With the evidence of the experience of 
ages, descending in an accumulating stream down to the present mo- 
ment, it would be most perverse to despair. Primitive Christianity 
gives us its evidence on this subject* Ancient false opinions dissi- 
pated ; inveterate habits of vice broken ; the vast empire of idolatrous 
Rome Christianized ; — all attest the " weapons of our warfare" to be 
mighty in the hands of God. The reformation yields its testimony. 
Then Christianity, throwing off in her rising might that superincum- 
bent load of superstition and error which more than a thousand years 
had heaped upon her, appeared again before the world with simple and 
commanding majesty, and proclaimed her energies to be unbroken and 
unimpaired. The present day gives its evidence to the efficacy of the 
Gospel, nor need we travel beyond the walls of this structure to col j 
lect it. You, my hearers, are witnesses of its power. Were we to' 
speak of souls dead to God, defiled with sin, "without God and with- 
out hope," we might add also, " And such once were some of you ; but 
ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the' 
Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." To you, therefore, has the 
preaching of the Gospel proved "the power of God." And will it ever 
lose its power ? Never, if the promise of God " standeth for evermore." 
If the dagons of Greece and Rome could not stand before the ark, but 
" fell and were broken," neither shall the gods of China and Hindostan. 
If we worship Thor and Woden no longer ; if, in these islands, the 
light has penetrated the gloom of druidical forests, and put to shame 
the abominations of our forefathers, the crude mythology of Africa 
and the Southern Isles shall not resist its penetrating beams and con- 
suming energy. 

" The world cannot withstand* 
Its ancient Conq&eror." 

Once conquered, it already trembles before the second attack. " The' 
arm of God is awake ;■" that arm which of old shook the gates of hell, 
and bowed down the pillars of the throne of Satan. 

3. Prophecy confirms the certainty of success. 

Take, my brethren, this glass, and look into the profound of the future. 
Is the prospect encouraging ? Of old an interesting question was* put 
to one of the watchmen of Israel : " Watchman ! what of the night ?" 
and the reply was, " The morning c'ometh, and also the night." Thus 
the day of primitive Christianity was succeeded by a night of error. But 
if we now " come again and inquire," we shall reeeive a more cheer- 
ing answer. The watchman of Christianity cries, " The shadows flee 
away ;" an everlasting day dawns upon the world, which, though it may 
be sometimes overcast, shall never be succeeded by a night. Let us, 
then, " turn aside and see this great sight." " The morning is spread 
on the mountains ;" and " kings come to its light, and the Gentiles to the 
brightness of its rising." The gods of earth tremble and fly ; for " in 
that day a man shall cast his idols to the moles and to the bats." 
The standard of Christ waves upon the hills, and " all nations flow 


unto it," saying, " Our fathers inherited lies and vanity, and things 
wherein is no profit." Famines and pestilences desolate no more ; 
wars " cease to the ends of the earth." The destroying angel passes 
over the habitations of men and finds no victim ; for there is " light in 
all their dwellings," and every " door post is sprinkled with the blood." 
" The glory of the Lord is revealed, and all flesh behold it together." 
Then shall follow the great Sabbath of the world, in which heaven and 
earth, reconciled by Christ and inspired by grace and love, shall jointly 
offer the grateful sacrifice of adoring praise : " For every creature 
which is in heaven and earth heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, 
and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and 
unto the Lamb for ever and ever." 

If, then, so glorious a certainty of present partial success, and of 
ultimate complete success, be established, what remains but that we 
apply to the great work of sending the blessed Gospel to the heathen 
with the utmost zeal ? Duty demands it. We owe a debt of love to 
every man. God hath " blessed us that we may be a blessing." Sym- 
pathy demands it. " Now we are converted let us strengthen our 
brethren." Interest demands it. " He that watereth shall be watered 
himself." Our hatred of sin demands it. Let us haste to banish from 
the earth those abominations which offend the pure eyes of heaven. 
Pity to souls demands it. Shall myriads of immortal spirits sink into 
the gulf of perdition without an effort on our part to save them ? Lastly ; 
gratitude to God for past success demands it. The particular state of 
our missions will be explained to you at the public meeting in the 
afternoon of this day ; and we shall therefore, only state generally, 
that God hath blessed us with great and distinguished success. The 
prophets have prophesied, and the bones have been shaken ; the breath 
of God has entered them, and already they stand up by their thousands. 
God be praised ! If you faint not, if, in common with your brethren 
throughout the Christian world, you still prosecute the good work, 
they shall be increased to " an exceeding great army." If, in the 
earnest fervour of your spirits, you pray, " Come from the four winds, 
O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live," the whole 
valley shall soon heave with returning life. The holy influence shall 
sweep the desolate earth, and in every land the " dry bones" shall 
stand up, " the living, the living to praise God, as we do this day." 

Sermon II. — National Peace the Gift of God. 

Preached at the Methodist Chapel, Wakefield, on Thursday, July 7, 1814, being 
the Day appointed for a General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Res. 
toration of Peace. 

" Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us : for thou also hast wrought all our works 
in us," Isaiah xxvi, 12. 

We are assembled on an occasion more joyful than our most san- 
guine wishes, but a little time ago, could anticipate ; and the object of 
our meeting is to perform a duty not more obligatory than delightful. 


The occasion is, the restoration of peace to Europe ; and the duty, a 
devout and thankful acknowledgment of God, as the author of the 

Happily, so much respect is paid in this country to the forms of 
religion, that to approach God in an act of national devotion is not a 
novelty. The circumstances of our approach to him this day are, 
however, new to our experience, and powerfully inciting to our grati- 
tude. We have been accustomed to invoke him as the God of armies, 
" strong and mighty in battle ;" but we now offer him our oblations as 
the " author of peace and the lover of concord." We have often been 
driven before him, by the scourge of his judgments, to confess our sins, 
and to deprecate his impending vengeance ; but, though we do not 
now proclaim our righteousness ; (that be far from us ;) though we, on 
this day of holy joy, deeply deplore our offences ; we yet acknowledge, 
that " he hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us after 
our iniquities." His anger is turned away, and his hand of judgment 
is stretched out no longer. 

If the present day forms a happy contrast to our days of national 
humiliation under public disappointments and disasters, it also stands 
in several interesting points of opposition and difference to the days 
of national thanksgiving which we have occasionally observed. On 
such occasions we rejoice in our military and naval successes, and 
ascribe, as was due, the victory to the Lord ; we felt, too, a pride, not 
wholly to be condemned, in the valour of our troops, and the skill of 
their leaders ; and we experienced no ordinary elevation of mind from 
the thought, that the British sword had seldom, during the contest, 
been drawn but in a cause manifestly just. Above all, we rejoiced in 
victory, as leading to peace. But, joyful as many of those occasions 
were, our thanksgivings could not be presented to Heaven unstained 
with sorrow : they were accompanied by painful recollections, which 
even the joy and triumph of victory could not suppress ; for he that 
celebrates victory, celebrates an event which has been produced by an 
incalculable measure of human suffering. Thank God, we can now 
appear before him with almost unmingled feelings of gratitude and 
joy ! The cries of anguish recently inflicted", the complaints of sorrow 
unassuaged by time, the harsh note of preparation for future combats, 
do not now mingle with our songs. A calm, a holy calm, is breathed 
over Europe, while the nations, so lately hostile, " lift up their hands" 
in the temple " without wrath," and " bless the Lord." 

In attempting to improve the solemnity of this day we shall consider, 

I. What there is in the restoration of peace, generally considered, 
to excite our gratitude. 

II. What there is in the particular circumstances of our country 
to warrant us in considering the blessing as of special value and 

III. The ground of our acknowledgment of God on this occasion : 
it is his work ; he has " ordained peace for us ;" he has " wrought all 
our works for us." 

I. We are to examine what there is in the restoration of peace, 
generally considered, to excite our gratitude. 

1 . The first consequence of peace which naturally presents itself to 
our attention is, that the effusion of human blood is stayed. Man no 



longer falls by man, and the earth is no more drenched with the blood 
of them who were designed to till and to enjoy it. 

To the feelings of mere humanity, the destruction of human life by 
war is a deeply afflicting subject. Did the evil fall upon the decrepid 
and aged only, were its wastes directed against those only to whom 
hopeless sickness or sorrow had made life a burden, war would lose 
much of its horror ; but its victims are men in the glow of youth and 
the vigour of maturity, when both their physical and intellectual 
strength qualify them to be most useful to their immediate connections 
and to society, when life is most ardently enjoyed, and may be best 
improved. But though these are the immediate victims of the direct 
stroke of war, how much misery is produced by its rebound ! One 
person may fall in the field; but he falls not alone. His death makes 
his infants orphans, his mother sonless, and his wife a widow. To 
these accumulating miseries are to be added those which are produced 
by what may be called the secondary effects of war. The desolating 
extent of those effects has seldom been more deeply and darkly depict- 
ed than in that page of modern history which the peace we celebrate 
has closed. How many have died by rapine and cojd blooded massa- 
cre ! of hunger, and cold, and nakedness ! How many, by sorrows 
too great for the spirit to sustain, have sunk into the grave ! Let the 
mourning Moscow be permitted to give her witness, Jet the sufferings 
of Leipsic and other cities of Germany, let the more than fiend-like 
cruelties exercised upon Hamburgh, be recollected ; and what heart, 
jf it be the heart of a man, does not bound at the very sound of peace ! 

But ;the Christian will hail the cessation of slaughter with feelings 
pf still higher joy than can be excited by a mere principle of humanity, 
If we think as we ought to think, we shall see in the waste of war not 
only the destruction of valuable human lives, but an awful destruction 
of souls ! It is not indeed probable, considering the present state of 
society, that all those who fall on the field of battje would be saved, 
were they suffered to live the natural date of life. In all situations we 
have sufficient reason to mourn the fatal folly of our kind. Yet, when 
sickness or age is permitted to wear down life gradually, and under 
circumstances which ma)' afford both opportunity and motives for re- 
flection, there is at least hope. " When his soul draweth near to the 
grave, and his life to the destroyers, there may be a messenger w;th 
him, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness." God 
may also be " gracious to him, and say, Deliver him from going down 
to the pit : I have found a ransom." But of the majority of those who 
die by the sudden stroke of war, the truth is, however painful, that on 
the principles of the Bible no such hope can be entertained. They 
" are cut off in the very blossom of their sin, and sent to their account." 
Let us, then, thank God that the plague is stayed. The human frame 
is no longer torn and maimed by the instruments of merciless warfare ; 
and human souls are no more abruptly driven by the rush of battle un- 
prepared into the presence of a holy God. 

2. The injurious effects produced by war upon the human character 
afford another reason for thanksgiving on the return of peace. It is 
impossible that a state of warfare should be long continued without 
greatly deteriorating, in some important respects, both individual and 
national character. 


War is unfriendly to humanity. Tender as the heart may naturally 
be, the frequent recurrence of scenes of suffering tends to harden it. A 
few minds of a superior order may exist, who preserve, even under such 
circumstances, their natural sympathy and softness ; but the general 
effects of a war are, to render the happiness of others less sacred, and 
to blunt that remorse which usually follows every aggression upon the 
comforts and lives of our fellow creatures. In barbarous states, where 
both domestic and foreign wars are frequent, and the state of society 
consequently greatly unsettled, these effects of war are made eminently 
conspicuous. The hallowed protection with which Christianity invests 
the person of man is broken through by brutal violence ; and the life 
of a man and the life of a dog are held equally cheap. In better con- 
stituted states, where Christianity and refinement have exerted their 
influence even upon war, and softened many of its most rugged fea- 
tures, its tendency to separate man from man, and to deprive one of his 
natural place in the. kindness of another, is yet sufficiently obvious to 
cause us to rejoice that it exists no longer, at least in Europe. A 
course of hostilities insensibly barbarizes every people, and renders 
them callous to human misery. Did we always judge of things abso- 
lutely, this effect might not so frequently follow ; but we regard them 
comparatively ; and when we have been accustomed to hear of tens of 
thousands falling by the sword, we are gradually brought to treat with 
the utmost indifference the loss of thousands or of hundreds. Thus 
the misery, which at another time would wring our hearts, after a war 
has been for a little time continued, scarcely excites a sigh. We 
cease to feel as we ought for even the great sufferings of men, because 
we can compare them with greater ! 

During a state of warfare, too, communities are usually distracted 
by intestine dissensions ; and political strife gives birth to no virtues. 
War is either the parent of parties, or the questions which rise out of 
it give them an offensive asperity. Opposition creates malevolence 
and rancour ; and thus not only is a nation divided against itself, but 
frequently a neighbourhood and a family. Brother is opposed to bro- 
ther, and friend to friend : good offices are interrupted, or performed 
with less frankness ; and the smooth current of social feeling is rough- 
ened with factious contentions. We therefore welcome peace. It 
breathes a stillness upon the troubled waters ; it binds up a nation's 
civil breaches ; and makes men to be " of one mind in a house." 

Another effect of war is, that, when long continued, it embitters the 
animosities of nations, and tends to confirm those national antipathies, 
which, if unchecked by peace, would settle into a confirmed and ma- 
lignant hatred. 

I am, I confess, no admirer of that universal civism, that citizenship 
of the world, which, under the pretence of extending kind feelings to 
all men, would extinguish our partialities for our own country. This 
kind of philosophy may sneeringly ask, " Why should I love the peo- 
ple on the other side of a river or a chain of mountains more than those 
on this side, — my own countrymen more than others V The question 
may be answered by another : " Why should I love my own family and 
friends more than others ?" Heaven designed it, and formed our na- 
tures for the reception of such particular affections. They arise from 
associations of ideas which cannot be controlled without the most un- 


natural violence. But as my particular affection for my own friends 
is no reason whv T should hate others, the warmest patriotism is not 
at all irreconcilable with universal charity. This charity is impaired 
by war. A truly Christian man will preserve it in full activity even in 
a state of hostility ; but Christianity, though so general in name, has 
but a partial influence. Conquest produces insolence ; defeat, hatred 
and desire of revenge. All the bad passions are called into exercise 
by rivalry and emulation ; and the individuals of the contending nations 
feel as though each had a personal quarrel to decide, and a per- 
sonal injury to revenge. The worst feelings are excited in the highest 
degree, and exhibited on the largest scale. In this view the human 
character assumes the aspect of even diabolical malignity. But peace 
corrects this evil, and allays the hatred of nations. It establishes in- 
tercourse, and intercourse creates friendship ; it winds the powerful 
ties of interest round the hostile parties, and thus strengthens their 
union. Those who met like demons in the field now associate like bro- 
thers in the walks of commerce ; and national antipathies, though they 
may not give place to positive affection, (that can only be the result of 
the diffusion Qf true Christianity,) are at least neutralized, and lose 
their mischievous activity. 

3. A third reason for gratitude with reference to the peace is, that 
it has been produced by the signal triumph of a righteous cause. This 
renders the present a peace emphatically. It brings both a cessation 
from arms, and relief from oppression. These are not always the joint 
effects of what is denominated peace. Peace is not always a blessing, 
In some cases it is only a term for the stillness, the quiet of desolation 
and death. Such was the peace which succeeded the invasion and 
conquest of Judea by the king of Babylon, Those who fell not by the 
sword were carried into captivity. The peace of Judea was, in this 
case, a dreary solitude. Thank God, this is not the kind of peace we 
celebrate this day. Our cities are not " desolate without inhabitant ;" 
our fields do not lie unfilled ; we do not sit down by the rivers of some 
foreign Babylon, and weep while we remember England. 

Peace is often the result of the superiority acquired by the aggressor. 
The cause of right does not always at once prevail. Unoffending na- 
tions are conquered, or obliged to submissions contrary to their rights 
and interests, and then peace follows ; peace dictated, not argued. In 
this case it is at best but a very partial and comparative blessing. — 
There is peace } but not the spirit of peace. Secret heart burnings 
remain ; and a determination, a just determination on the part of the 
oppressed, to seize the first opportunity to redeem their cause. But 
this is not the character of the present peace. It is not such as the 
humbled tyrant would have imposed upon Europe, — peace accompanied 
by submission. No ; the " rod of the oppressor" is broken, the forged 
fetter is eluded, justice has triumphed, ambition has been punished, 
and a bond of union knit round the powers menaced with subjection 
which we hope will secure them against future similar attempts. Yes ; 
■the right has prevailed ! And because every great object of the con- 
test is accomplished, (and none certainly has been aimed at above the 
lowest point of moderation,) in a more than ordinary sense we may 
.conclude peace to be restored to earth, because much good wijl has 
been established among men. 


4. We rejoice in peace as the completion of a course of providential 
dispensations highly conducive to the instruction of the world. 

It would indeed be strange, if that awful and eventful drama which 
has extended iis acts through twenty years, exhibited the greatest states 
of Europe as its actors, held the attention of the world in breathless 
suspense as to the event, and given the strongest excitation to the hopes 
and fears of men, — it would, we repeat, be a deep enigma in Providence, 
and contrary to all that has hitherto been known among men, if this 
drama should be without its grand moral ; if its scenes should pass 
away like the shapes impressed upon the clouds tossed by a storm, 
and leave no trace of instruction ; if no truths have been established, 
no principles supported. Both the final cause and the usual effect of 
God's judgments are to teach men righteousness. Judgment, without 
instruction and correction as the ends of its infliction, is the lot of the 
damned, but not of man in a state of probation. While trial lasts, 
whether nations or individuals be the subjects of it, all the events of 
joy or wo which befall them speak instruction, and teach wisdom. — 
Even in the natural world, the storm which bears down in its violence 
the tree of the forest, and the proud edifices of the city, neither rages 
without direction, nor passes away without a blessing : it ventilates the 
atmosphere, and scatters its noxious vapours. The flood which swells 
above its banks, and carries for a time desolation over the fields, depo- 
sits the seeds of useful plants, and gives fertility to the soil over which 
jt rages. It were therefore impious to suppose the moral world to be 
less wisely and graciously governed. Seeds of important truth have 
as certainly been scattered over Europe during her years of desolation, 
which, now the proud billows have subsided, the genial state of peace 
will foster into growth. The principles which have been supported, 
the lessons which have been taught, during the late contest, we shall 
not attempt distinctly to enumerate ; but he is very unobservant who 
does not see that it has not been terminated so as to sanction, in the 
least degree, any of those false and destructive principles in policy, 
religion, and morals, which, at different periods of the struggle, have 
had their numerous advocates. What man of thinking now fixes him- 
self on either extreme of political opinion, and advocates either the jus 
divinum of kings, or the sovereignty of mobs ? Who now looks to a 
vain philosophy to accomplish that which nothing but true religion can 
perform, — to perfect the human character, and banish misery from the 
world 1 Who will now attempt, after the fatal example exhibited by 
France, to support power by terror, or to realize the chimera of uni- 
versal empire 1 If, then, sober principles have received, on the largest 
scale and the fairest trial, the sanction of experience ; and if injurious 
notions, though decked with the most attractive colours of the imagina- 
tion, and supported by no mean names, have been frowned down by the 
aspect of the events we have witnessed ; if the ambitious have been 
taught moderation, sovereigns to cultivate the love of their people, and 
people to uphold the legal authority of their governors ; and especially 
if religion has achieved new triumphs, and received new homage ; then 
the storm has not raged in vain, the contest has not terminated without 
instruction. Important lessons have been taught, and the future happi- 
ness of the world is more firmly laid in increasing regards to political 
justice and to true religion. 



For these reasons we this clay present our grateful thanks to Al- 
mighty God for the conclusion of peace, considered generally ; but, 

II. We consider what there is in the particular circumstances of this 
country to warrant us in considering the blessing as of special and 
particular value. 

1. We have preserved our national honour. 

Peace is a blessing which we have in common with other nations 
our allies ; but this we have peculiar to ourselves, that we never, like 
them, co-operated with the enemy of the repose of the world in his 
aggressions upon the rights and peace of mankind. Either from force 
or choice, there is not a state, freed in the last struggle from the grasp 
of France, which has not stained its character by joining, at some period 
of the contest, with that ambitious power to bind the yoke upon the neck 
of its neighbour. All have in turn marched in the track of the tyrant, 
and in different degrees shared his guilt. But as to ourselves, it is an 
inspiring thought, and one that calls for our gratitude, that we have been 
preserved from this infamy. Our strength and wealth have been em- 
ployed to rescue nations, not to oppress them ; we have been their 
refuge, not their rod. By the blessing of God, and the prayers of the 
faithful, we have gone through the contest, and are come out of it with 
a high and unstained character ; and, if character be strength, the peace 
is doubly endeared to us by the consideration, that it presents this to 
tis, among its other exhibited blessings. This is the valuable legacy 
we shall leave to the next age ; and we trust even in this to derive the 
most important advantages from it. We hope that the influence created 
by the character and conduct of this country will be employed to control 
animosities, and to make the peace permanent ; that it will be inces- 
santly exerted in favour of the enslaved African, till a system of rob- 
bery and murder, so long the reproach of Christendom, shall be eternally 
and universally abolished ; and that it will, in no ordinary degree, aid 
the attempts which are so generally making by the Christians of Great 
Britain to evangelize the world. 

2. Another circumstance which gives a peculiar value to the peace, 
as it respects ourselves, is, that it was seasonable. 

After a long and doubtful contest in which we had been often baffled, 
we had put forth our utmost strength. All the energies of the country, 
military and financial, were summoned for the struggle of that eventful 
hour which was to determine our future lot. I think I am warranted 
in saying that we had buckled on the harness for the last time, that we 
were making our last effort ; and this I know, from good authority, that, 
in the event of the contest being prolonged a few months longer, the 
difficulties foreseen in our financial arrangements were such as to appal 
the ablest of our statesmen. Had we not succeeded at the moment, 
the strong probability is, that we should have fallen under the giant 
arm of our enemy ; and in that case we should have fallen to rise no 
more as a nation of the first order. Defeat, disgrace, subjection, and 
ruin would then have been the only inheritance left for ourselves, and 
our children. The heart even now chills to reflect upon the vast in- 
terests which have been poised in a balance trembling with so much 
uncertainty. What, then, ought to be our gratitude, when we reflect, 
that, in this critical moment, this crisis, this vacillating libration of our 
future fate, God interposed. " The lot was cast into the lap, the dis- 


posal was of the Lord ;" and while we watched the event with heart- 
rending anxiety, it turned up— victory and peace. 

3. The peace has a peculiar interest to us, as it may be considered 
indicative of the Divine favour and approbation. 

On this subject we would not be presumptuous, and yet it is of great 
importance to know whether those things we esteem blessings are given 
in mercy, or allowed in anger. If God has in mercy given us peace, 
then in its results it will prove a real good ; if not, it will be so only 
in name. If it be a witness of national forgiveness ; (and there is 
national as well as individual forgiveness ;) if we are authorized to use 
the language of a pious Jew, and say, " Lord, thou hast been favourable 
to thy land, thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast 
covered all their sin ;" we have then indeed special reasons for joy 
and gratitude ; and though we would tread this ground cautiously, it 
may at least be affirmed that the happy change in our affairs, which 
has ultimately led to peace, followed, and, in some instances, imme- 
diately followed, certain acts of national reformation, and acknowledg- 
ment of God, which, from the condescending assurances of his word, 
we know must have been acceptable to him. 

The interest we are now taking in the universal abolition of the 
slave trade cannot fail to remind us, that, during the conflict, and while 
we were under the rod of God, we renounced, as a nation, all partici- 
pation in that detestable traffic. That it was ever sanctioned by our 
legislature, constituted a great national offence ; a blot, broad and black, 
upon our statutes and our character. This only can be said in pallia- 
tion, that the. atrocities of that system of outrage were for a long time 
pnknown to the body of the people. The scenes of its barbarities were 
laid in distant lands, or on the lonely ocean. The shriek of terror ex- 
torted by the appearance of the man hunter was given to the mountain 
winds ; and the murmurs of the sufferer, as he was dragged across the 
waters, were uttered only to the waves. The islands, whose ancient 
solitudes were disturbed by the sounds of the manacle and the lash, 
were visited by few but the interested ; and the miseries of an injured 
portion of our race were thus kept from the public view. When, how- 
ever, by the activity of men whose names are ever to be honoured, the 
wrongs of Africa reached our ears, and were spread before our sight, 
they successfully appealed to those principles which Christianity had 
implanted in the country ; and after a struggle, not long but sharp, with 
wicked selfishness, and stupid ignorance, the cause of humanity 
triumphed. Now, no inhabitant of Africa lifts up enchained hands to 
us, to say in the meek but piercing language of reproach, " Am I not 
a man and a brother ?" Certainly our joy at this reflection is damped 
by an unhappy article in the treaty ; yet the public and the legislature 
have both freed themselves from all participation in the act. The friends 
of humanity have acquired, even from this, additional energy to press 
forward to the completion of all their hopes ; and we doubt not but the 
spirit manifested and sustained in great Britain on this subject will 
eventually remove this reproach from Christendom, and proclaim an 
eternal jubilee to the continent of Africa. 

To this great instance of national reformation we have to add cer- 
tain acts in which we have very generally acknowledged God, and 
discovered a just concern for his glory. The distribution of the word 


of God, and the support of missions to the heathen, may almost be 
denominated national acts, because the institutions which have been 
formed for these great objects number a large part of the nation among 
their active supporters ; while the abolition of all persecuting sta- 
tutes in matters of religion, and the opening of British India to the 
labours of missionaries, as they were acts of the legislature, were, in 
the fullest sense, acts of the nation. We do not affirm that we have 
merited any thing by these acts. We have done no more than our duty ; 
we have not done so much as duty requires ; our works are defective, 
and our sins numerous : nevertheless, we are not without warrant in 
considering our national blessings as the result of God's kind con- 
sideration of those acts which have been done for the glory of his name. 
He who will not fail to notice the gift of " a cup of cold water" to a dis- 
ciple when given for his name's sake ; he who exempted the Hebrew 
prince from the common doom of his family, because some good thing 
was found in him toward his God ; has not, we are persuaded, forgot- 
ten the " works of faith and labours of love," performed eminently for 
his name's sake by thousands of British Christians. In philosophy 
we connect effects with their causes. Why not then in religion ? 
And if we can consider the blessing of peace as the consequence of our 
acknowledging God as a people, it comes to us stamped with more 
than ordinary value. We see in peace the pledge of the Divine appro- 
bation, perhaps the seal of national forgiveness, and certainly so much 
of favour immediately following our efforts in the cause of religion as 
to afford us the highest encouragement to persevere in them. And 

4. We see a particular reason to be thankful for peace, as it will 
increase our means of promoting the kingdom of Christ in the world, 
and thus establish our national prosperity by continuing to us the 
blessing of God. 

If we have loved nations when enemies and sought their salvation, 
we shall not love them less as friends. If we have ministered to their 
prisoners in jails and prison ships, we shall not relax now Ave have 
access to their thousands at home. The communication with many 
distant lands will now be more safe and more frequent. The enter- 
prize of the merchant will open the way for the enterprize of the 
missionary. Our bales and our Bibles will be conveyed across the 
ocean at an easier freight ; and the diminished burdens and increased 
opulence of the country will enable the lovers of Christ, and of the 
souls of men, to make more liberal sacrifices for the promotion of the 

But it may be asked, Will the peace, as we expected, quicken our 
commerce and increase our wealth ? Are there not both fears and in- 
dications to the contrary 1 There may ; but they are founded on partial 
facts and narrow views. The affairs of the world, for so long a time 
diverted from their proper channel, will not at once revert to it. In 
the mean time, temporary and partial inconveniences are to be expected. 
But, if no moral causes prevent it, peace must be favourable, not only 
to our commerce, but to that of the world. It evidently enters into the 
plans of Providence to foster commerce in all nations. By this the 
Almighty brings them together to improve and moralize them. It is an 
important instrument in his hands of civil and religious improvement. 


As long as the sun shines obliquely upon the poles, and directly on 
the tropics ; as long as his unequal effusions of light and heat shall 
create a variety of climate and productions ; so long will one country 
remain dependent upon another, either for its necessaries or its com- 
forts. This mutual dependence is the basis of commerce ; and as long 
as the earth can be rendered more productive, and human ingenuity 
still find room for its exhibition in impressing upon its productions new 
and improved forms, (and no limit has hitherto been assigned to either,) 
so long, if peace be used to promote Christianity among mankind, the 
wealth and refinement of every nation under heaven may be indefinilely 
increased, till civil refinement and happiness, and religious light and 
influence, shall become the equal portion of all the inhabitants of the 
globe. We trust in God to continue prosperity to this land ; and that 
portion of our wealth which is offered in acts of benevolence will 
consecrate the rest. We rejoice in peace, as it will give us better 
opportunities to prosecute the glorious idea of Christianizing the world. 

But we consider, 

III. The reason of our thankful acknowledgment of God on this 
occasion. He is the giver of the blessing of peace. It is his work : 
" Thou hast ordained peace for us ; thou hast wrought all our works 
for us." 

This is a most important principle ; and if our hearts be not firmly 
grounded in it, our thanksgivings are mockery ; for why do we thank 
him, if we ascribe the work to second causes ? Our bereavements and 
our blessings are equally from God : " I make the light, and form the 
darkness ; I make peace ; and create evil ; I the Lord do all these 
things." He that excludes God from the world of providence might 
as well exclude him from the world of nature. He who can attribute 
the events which are daily taking place in society, and especially such 
events as are connected with the celebration of this day, to mere human 
agency, is not less an atheist than the man who ascribes the birth and 
being of the fair system of the universe to chance or to the dance of 
atoms. The divine moral attributes of truth, righteousness, and holi- 
ness, are as conspicuous in the arrangements of the moral world, as 
the strong lines and striking characters of eternal power and Godhead 
are in the natural ; and the history of the world is nothing less than 
the history, — I speak with reverence, — the history of God himself; 
the history of his attributes, displayed in the government of his crea- 
tures. We need, indeed, no other argument to prove this, than the 
constant connection which every age has' witnessed between vice and 
misery, rebellion and punishment. All history attests the fact of 
such a connection ; for though history has not often been written ex- 
pressly with a view to such inquiries, though myriads of events are 
unknown to us, and though " clouds and darkness are round about him," 
yet enough is recorded to put the subject beyond all doubt. Though 
the path of Divine Providence be generally trackless, yet here and 
there justice or mercy has erected a monument to indicate its course 
and direction. These monuments history has preserved ; and where 
that is silent, and furnishes no information as to certain remote periods 
of time, and states whose very name has almost perished, God has not 
left himself without witness. Distant and now uninhabited deserts 
disclose to the traveller remains of magnificent cities, still braving the 



wastes of time, to say, '■" Here once was grandeur, and luxury, and 
pride." No inscription, perchance, is left to indicate who were their 
inhabitants, or by what agents they were •'destroyed. This silence is, 
however, trumpet tongued in the ear of reflection. To every succeed- 
ing generation their nodding columns proclaim, that God's dealings with 
men have been alike from the earliest ages of human existence ; that 
when pride and fulness of bread had produced vice and rebellion, an 
offended God made of the " defenced city a heap," and left no stone 
upon another, except as a monument of their dissolute wickedness, and 
of his righteous displeasure. 

Hence it is, that because the world is thus constantly governed by a 
merciful, yet holy, and righteous, and unchangeable Being, nothing 
substantially new takes place in it. We have lived in an extraordinary 
age of revolutions ; yet nothing new has occurred, except in mode and 
circumstance. Old things only have been re-acted. In every age, 
when God's blessings have been abused to luxury and excess, they 
have been withheld ; and plague or famine has testified that God is no 
inobservant spectator of human a'ctions. When, in time of peace, men, 
being in no danger from abroad,- have grown fearlessly licentious at 
home, the sword has received its commission to awake against such 
as, sitting at ease, forget God. When war has corrected the vices of 
a land, the sword of the Lord has returned to its scabbard, and has 
rested till the daring crimes of men have again provoked the keenness 
of its edge. When the tyrants of the earth, elated with pride, have 
trampled upon those, whom, by their office, they were bound to protect, 
a spirit of resistance has been raised up against them in their own' 
kingdom, or a hardy invader has been permitted to strike down thrones, 
unsupported by the love of the people. And when, on the other hand, 
a people mistake licentiousness for liberty, and rend the state by fac- 
tion and rebellion, Heaven in its anger raises up some despotic ruler* 
to chastise with scorpions those who will not be governed by equity 
and moderation. He in his turn is laid aside, or is pushed on to his 
ruin by his blinded ambition. These are events which not only we, 
but the people of every age, have witnessed ; and the whole proves 
that " the Lord reigneth, let the world be never so 1 unquiet." 

Of so much importance is it to acknowledge the interposition of 
God in the changes which take place in the world, that the Scripture' 
pronounces that man brutish who does not observe it; and when he is 
not acknowledged spontaneously, when men wilfully close their eyes- 
upon his righteous acts, he will even force himself upon their notice 
by the severity of his judgments. "Lord," cries the prophet in this 
chapter, "when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see ; but they shall 
see, and the fire of their enemies shall devour them." On the con- 
trary, he " who is wise and understands these things shall know the 
loving kindness of the Lord." Let us then acknowledge God : but not 
coldly, not in a heartless form. His " hand has been lifted up" too high, 
it has been too active in our favour, it has done too many " wonderful" 
things" in judgment and mercy, not to be specially remembered with' 
mingled feelings of wonder and gratitude. 

When I addressed you on the late day of general thanksgiving for 
the victories obtained by the allies, I endeavoured to lead your con- 
templations to those obvious instances of Divine interposition which' 


had then occurred, and which then brightened cur prospects into that 
state of peace into which we have now entered. We need not now 
repeat them. We then marked the hand of God in permitting those 
nations which had opposed his truth, and which had been distin- 
guished by religious bigotry and hostility to the rights of conscience, 
to fall into such a state of political weakness, as made them an easy 
conquest to the invader. We endeavoured, too, to point out those les- 
sons which had been taught the world by that permissive Providence 
which suffered the horrid system of infidelity to display its true cha- 
racter in the destruction of the peace of individuals and the peace of 
the world. We traced the march of proud ambition at the head of the 
most formidable armament of modern times ; we saw the power and 
pride of man " broken without hand ;" we " ceased from man, whose 
breath is in his nostrils," and owned God. " He blew with his wind, 
and they were scattered;" and they fell before "his cold." These 
scenes of horror and of retribution we then contemplated, as well as 
the failure of every attempt of the tyrant to retrieve his affairs down to 
the decisive battles of Leipsic. It remains for us still to acknowledge 
the operations of the Divine hand to the present moment. On the last 
thanksgiving day we departed from the house of God full of the hope 
of peace ; and we indulged the rich anticipation of that state into 
which we are now entered. Our hopes were not, however, at once 
realized. Our fair prospects were more than once overcast ; and the 
public mind was frequently agitated, and not without reason, by serious 
fears of disappointment. But these alternations of our feelings, and of 
the events which produced them, have only served the better to prepare 
our minds to mark a more than human agency in the glorious con- 
summation. God was ripening the result his own way ; and the last 
acts of the eventful series rendered his arm most conspicuous. After 
the falling tyrant had in his infatuation rejected terms of peace which 
would have established him in his dominion over France, his metro- 
polis, the pivot and centre of his power, fell by a military error on his 
part which astonished the world, because it was an error which the 
commonest mind might have perceived and avoided. Her withdrew 
his army from the only point which he was concerned to defend, and 
left that way open which ought to have been closed by the firmest 
fence of iron. But God had " turned the counsel of Ahithophel into 
foolishness ;" his accustomed sagacity forsook him ; and his polluted 
throne, struck by an unseen hand, crumbled into dust. Our proper 
language on this survey is, " What hath God wrought !" For, as if he 
specially purposed to humble that vain but unhappily too prevalent phi- 
losophy, which would either entirely exclude God from the government 
of the world, or restrain him to the observance of certain general laws, 
by which, with the boldest effrontery, it would mark out the bounds 
of his operations, he has interposed in the affairs of Europe by more 
than usually striking displays of an immediate agency. He listened 
not to our prayers for the downfall of oppression ; the glorious deliver- 
ence of nations which we celebrate this day, was not given to our most 
anxious wishes, till that he might lead us from our destructive depend- 
ance on second causes, he had cleared the scene of all those actors 
on whose wisdom and influence we had been accustomed to depend. 
Where, in the late wondrous whirl of events, were the old statesmen 


of Europe, in whose experience and talents only the nations were 
accustomed to feel confidence ? They were either turned into the 
walks of private life, or gathered to their fathers. Scarcely one of 
them was seen connected with counsels which have had so happy an 
issue. Men of only secondary name and influence have filled their 
places. Even the military leaders were new ; not one of them had 
more than a recent fame. They were not the men to whom public 
opinion, at the onset of the last struggle, would have confided the des- 
tiny of nations. There Were great captains, as Avell as great statesmen, 
in privacy, whom the public would have brought forth, and on whose 
tried ability it would have reposed its trust. One, indeed, was brought 
upon the stage ; and of so great importance was his accession ac- 
counted, that it was not thought too much to bring him across the At- 
lantic to lead the troops which were to achieve the independence of 
the continent. This " arm of flesh" was, however, withered. He on 
whom so much trust rested fell in the first battle, — a battle evidently 
ill advised, though advised by him, and unsuccessful, though directed 
by him. In a very different sense from that given by the hypocrisy 
and egotism of the tyrant, we may see in this remarkable circumstance, 
the finger of God ; and not only in this employment of secondary and 
unfamed agents, but in all the stages of approach to the grand result.- 
Numerous circumstances, over which human power had no control, 
contributed to hasten it ; and it is not less striking than any thing be- 
side in the interesting story, that a coalition formed of nations naturally 
jealous of each other, who had been more than once betrayed by each 
other, who all had wrongs to remember and avenge, yet should, con- 
trary to their former conduct, maintain the league in the spirit of unpa- 
ralleled unanimity and pliancy of temper ; — a circumstance which the 
most sanguine politician could not anticipate, but which was, under 
God, the means of ultimate triumph. 

So eminent, indeed, is the hand of God in all this, that his interpo- 
sition was never more generally acknowledged ; and we feel a plea- 
sure in the fact, that it has not only been owned in the pulpit and the 
temple, but in the senate ; and that two of our most distinguished 
statesmen, neither of whom will be charged with enthusiasm, have 
publicly ascribed the late events, not to the wisdom of man, but to the 
agency of God. " Such," said one, " was his view of the most impor- 
tant change, that it would be presumptuous in him to attribute it to 
human policy or human exertions ; for if ever there were times or 
events more than others which called for it, these must be ascribed to 
the behests of an over-ruling Providence." I am sure we shall re-echo 
these sentiments : " We lift up our hands in the sanctuary, and bless 
the Lord. He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. 
Yea, let Israel now say so, whom he hath redeemed out of the hands 
of all their enemies." 

I conclude with observing, that, however suitable deep and lively 
sentiments of gratitude are to the occasion of the solemnities of this 
day, much more is required of us, both by our duty and our interest. 
Do we shudder at the idea of the rekindling of the torch of discord, and 
the renewal of the devastations of war? Is it the earnest wish of our 
souls, that the peace may be eternal ; that the sword may gleam in the 
eyes of men no more ; and that the earth may never more be moistened 


except by the dews of heaven ; that the final reign of the Prince of 
Peace may commence, and " quietness and assurance for ever" become 
the lot of man 1 We all can contribute something to these glorious 
results ; and it is our duty to contribute all we can toward them. Let 
us first support the influence of religion in our own hearts, and light 
up a brighter lustre of truth and holiness in our example. Let us en- 
deavour zealously, and in the spirit of meekness, to counteract all im- 
morality in our respective neighbourhoods, and to promote the salva- 
tion of others by our advice, our influence, and our prayers. Let us 
become the fervent advocates and active supporters of all such institu- 
tions among us as are directed to the reformation and instruction of 
our country, — of schools, of Bible and tract societies, and of home 
missions. Let us go farther : let us be unwearied in carrying into 
effect the great plan of evangelizing the world, which the charity in- 
spired by the Gospel has dictated to the minds of British Christians. 
By this means, we shall best promote universal peace, the peace of 
nations, the peace of families, the peace of individuals, peace with each 
other, peace with ourselves, peace with God. For purposes of this 
kind, we can depend but little upon political arrangements. The world 
can only be made happy by the diffusion of moral principles ; and the 
Gospel only can effectually diffuse them. Go, then, system of mercy ; 
take to thyself the wings of our beneficence, and fly to the uttermost 
parts of the earth ; go on thy errand of love, sped by our bounty and 
our prayers ; confront the misleading errors of false religion, and banish 
them from human minds. Go, testify to every fallen child of Adam, 
that " God is love ;" bear thy message of mercy every where, and say, 
" Whosoever will, let him come and take of the waters of life freely." 
We have " peace on earth ;" but go and breathe thy soft and peaceful' 
spirit into men's hearts ; teach kings moderation, and their subjects 
order ; destroy the causes of war in their fountain, the human heart, 
and "bring the desolations of the world to a perpetual end." Go, from 
conquest to conquest ; and may thy triumphs never end, while there is 
a nation on the globe to bless, or a soul among its countless myriads to 
save. To God, the author of peace, be ascribed glory and dominion 
for ever. Amen. 

Sermon HI. — Religious Instruction an essential part of Education 

Preached in Great Queen-street Chapel, before the Teachers of the Sunday School 
Union, October, 1818, and Published at the request of the Committee of thai 

" And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them : and when he had 
taken him in his arms, he said unto them, AVhosoever shall receive one of such 
children in my name, receiveth me," Mark it, 36, 37. 

The prophets of the Old Testament not only expressed themselves 
in the elevated language of figure and poetry, but in many instances 
used a symbolic action to convey the messages they were commis- 
sioned to deliver to men. They conduct their readers to scenes, often 
of sublime and terrific import, and record the performance of numerous 

Vol. L 3 


figurative actions, which could not have been indications of the inten- 
tion of the speaker, unless they had been very extraordinary. In their 
case the Holy Spirit made use of a strong oriental imagination to convey 
his revelations ; and this faculty was not less active in their hearers 
than in themselves. 

The teaching of Christ was of a calmer character. The symbolic 
scenes to which he points are usually of the soft, the pastoral, the do- 
mestic kind : he seldom teaches by prophetic action. Perhaps it was 
necessary to make this distinction between the Master and the servant ; 
that he should show the superior dignity of his nature by an entire 
command of his imagination ; that he should thus demonstrate that he 
was not so much the subject of inspiration, a mere human being, bend- 
ing under its weight, or transported by its energies, as its original 
Fount and Source. While his form was that of a servant, his manner 
was that of a God. 

In the text, however, he teaches by action ; but it is action still 
strictly in character. His object was, as we learn from the parallel 
place in St. Matthew's Gospel, not only to recommend children to the 
care of his disciples, but to teach the disciples themselves an affection- 
ate, an innocent, and a docile temper. But the action marks no turbu- 
lence of feeling, no high-wrought activity of the fancy. It was one 
which accorded with the kindliness of his nature, and affectingly cha- 
racterized it. Never was dignity so sweetly attempered by benevolence ; 
never did the condescending tenderness of an elevated nature issue in 
a current at once so gentle and so copious. " And he took a child, 
and set him in the midst of them : and when he had taken him in his 
arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children 
in my name, receiveth me." 

A similar action, with additional circumstances, is mentioned in the' 
next chapter. Encouraged, perhaps, by the transaction recorded in 
the text, '• they," the parents. " brought young children to him, that he 
should touch them : and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, 
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not : for of 
such is the kingdom of God. And he took them up in his arms, put 
his hands upon them, and blessed them," &c. 

The whole of this history is in proof of the interest which our Lord 
took in children : but it is more ; it contains his sanction, given in the 
most impressive manner, to their moral nurture, and religious educa- 
tion. When, after he had blessed them, he returned them to their pa- 
rents, what did that action import ?. Said it not, " Love vour children 
because I love them ; love them religiously ; be it your care that they 
forfeit not my blessing ; instruct their minds ; correct the rising vices 
of their nature ; give them at a proper age to my Church ; offer them 
by your daily prayers to my continued favour ; ' for of such is the 
kingdom of God V " 

Had the legislation of Christianity made no provision for the educa- 
tion of children, it would have been obviously defective. It would 
have been an anomaly in moral history ; it would have been seen, if 
not in opposition to the views and exertions of the wise and good in 
every age, yet, at least, not in cooperation with them. So important 
did this subject appear to most of the legislators of antiquity, that they 


incorporated their systems of education with the laws which they gave 
their countrymen ; and scarcely has any subject received more atten- 
tion from divines and philosophers of every age. No express precept 
for the education of children, it. is true, appears in the discourses of 
Christ : it was not necessary. His mission was to the Jews. A pre- 
cept was already inscribed in their law, enjoining them to communicate 
their religious knowledge to their children ; and the rule was in practice. 
With whatever defects or errors their religious system might, in that 
day, be chargeable, they themselves were not guilty of withholding it 
from their children. It was not necessary to re-enact this precept, any 
more than that which prescribed the sanCtification of a Sabbath, Both 
were moral duties, and parts of the law which he " came not to destroy." 
The observance of a Sabbath was in the common law of society before 
the statutes of Moses were recorded ; and this was the case also with 
the duty of instructing children. It was the law of the patriarchal 
ages, when every father of a family was its priest and teacher, as well 
as sovereign ; and it was only made the law of parents formally when 
the priestly office was confined to a particular tribe. The careful and 
especially the religious education of children was, therefore, among the 
Jews, an acknowledged obligation. But when Christianity was given 
to the Gentiles, a direct precept was necessary. It appears, therefore, 
in numerous passages, and in various forms of injunction, in the aposto- 
lical Epistles ; and " to bring up children in the nurture and admonition 
of the Lord," has descended, with other obligations of the Christian law, 
to us and to all who profess the Christian name. 

Sanctioned then as is the principle of that work of charity in which 
you, my hearers, are so actively and so honourably engaged, by the 
authority of inspiration itself; denounced as ignorance is, in the sacred 
record, as the source of the greatest evils to the individual and to 
society ; and intimately as every hope of civil improvement and personal 
salvation is bound up with kind, careful, and persevering instruction ; 
the subject must be considered of great importance, and one to whic'Jf 
our attention ought frequently to be directed. Suffer me, then, to 
occupy your attention with a few remarks on education considered 
generally ; to connect the principles we may thus establish with the 
institutions in which you take so leading a part ; and to adduce con- 
siderations from the text which may afford motives for perseverance in 
your important labours. 

I. We consider the subject of education generally. Perhaps no 
word, so frequently heard, has in modern times been used with less 
perception of its import. In the sense in which it is usually taken, it 
signifies instruction in letters, human science, and in various accom- 
plishments of the mind and body. So entirely distinct is it considered 
from moral, and especially from religious, instruction, that when the 
particular process is spoken of by which the truths of our Divine 
religion are communicated to the mind, and impressed upon the heart, 
we are obliged, in order to make ourselves understood, to prefix an 
epithet to the term, and call it a religious education. This exclusion 
of every thing religious from the notion of education is so complete, 
that to say of any one, " He is educated," conveys no idea of religious 
care having been exercised over him in his early years - no idea of 
religious principles having been at any time implanted or now actually 


operating in his heart ; and though no truth of the sacred Scriptures 
should be clearlv apprehended by his understanding, he would never- 
theless, pass, in the language of the world, for a person of education. 
This could not have happened, had not a very culpable alteration taken 
place in modern manners. There were times, and among ourselves, 
when every educated person was presumed to be acquainted with the 
faith of his ancestors and of his country ; when the catechism and the 
Bible were among the first books put into his hand ; when the elements 
of religious truth and of science were taught together ; and when even 
the higher branches of learning, like his daily food, were " sanctified by 
the word of God and prayer." The practice is changed ; and educa- 
tion, as a matter of course, no longer implies religious information. 

But notwithstanding this alteration, never did we hear so much of 
the value and advantages of education, and of its connection with hap- 
piness and virtue. But of what is this affirmed ? Of " a thing of shreds 
and patches :" Splendid and many coloured it may be, yet not worthy 
of a better appellation, because not connected with any principle, or 
directed to any end, worthy of our being. To open the mind to human 
science, to awaken the pleasures of taste, and to decorate the external 
man with the adornings of civil and refined life, might be sufficient to 
occupy the office of education, were there no God, no Saviour, and no 
future being. Were this life not a state of probation, had man no 
peace to make with his God, no law of his to obey, no pardon to solicit 
from his mercy, then this would be education ; but most affectingly 
deficient will the knowledge of that youth be found, and negligent in 
the highest degree must they be considered who have the charge of his 
early years, if his mind be left unoccupied by other objects, and 
unfamiliarized to higher considerations. Thus we may rear " a whited 
wall," or build " a painted sepulchre ;" but they enclose an uncorrected 
corruption within. Perhaps we do worse ; we give play and activity 
to the powers, without directing their movements, and abandon instru- 
ments of an energy not to be calculated to the stimulus of principles 
and passions which employ them only for the purposes of destruction. 

Many definitions of education have been attempted, but the one of 
which I shall avail myself, to assist me in conveying my views on this 
subject, is equally recommended by its own excellence, and by the 
character of its author. It is by the venerable Hooker, an authority to 
which, on general subjects at least, men of all parties have bowed with 
respect. " Education," according to this eminent man, " is the means 
by which our faculty of reason is made both the sooner and the better 
to judge rightly between truth and error, good and evil." 

Let us take the first part of this excellent definition, and it will 
appear, that the education which enables us to judge rightly between 
truth and error must be substantially religious. 

We are all interested in truth, but we are not interested in all truths 
equally ;. nor can an acquaintance with truths of inferior consequence 
compensate us for those of which we may be left ignorant. Truths 
are important to us, only as our circumstances render them so ; and in 
education we naturally lead our youth principally to the knowledge of 
those which may most serve them in the stations of future life which 
they are designed to occupy. That youth would be preposterously 
educated whose attention should be principally engaged by the science 


of music, when he is designed for the walks of commerce ; or who 
should be confined to the study of physic, though he is intended for the 
profession of law. This would not be education ; it would be trifling 
and mockery. But if it should appear, that there are truths in which 
man is interested, not as he is of this or that profession, but which are 
of the first importance to him as man, and equally so in every condition ; 
which it is alike necessary for him to know, whether he be rich or 
poor, and whether circumstances conduct him through this life by its 
higher or its lower walks ; then may we confidently decide, that that 
education is even cruelly defective which does not communicate them, 
from the earliest period, patiently and fully. Such are the truths of 
religion. What God is, and what are his rights and claims ; what man 
is, and what his fears and his hopes ; what is that redemption wrought 
out by Jesus Christ, and offered unto mankind ; and by what means we 
may become personally interested in a covenant of peace and salvation, 
without which the conscience can know no peace in life, and the im- 
mortal spirit no rest after it ; what is that futuritv toward which we are 
all hasting from infancy itself, and where that unfrequented path lies 
which alone can conduct us to its felicities. 

These surely are truths of awful and universal concern ; truths 
which, when known, confer strength and impress a right direction on 
the mind ; discipline it for the acquirement of lower and useful science ; 
and shed a steady light on almost every other kind of knowledge, in 
which society can be interested ; at once fixing in the mind the standard 
of right judgment on every moral subject, and the principles which 
impel man to active usefulness. To obtain the knowledge of these 
truths, and to be able to distinguish them from the insidious errors by 
which in all ages they have been simulated or substituted, must be the 
principal end of a true education : it cannot, at least without the utmost 
shamelessness, if it neglect them, pretend to be an education on the 
principles of Christianity. But to know these truths, it is necessary 
to know the Eible. From that source only can they be drawn ; that 
is the only standard by which moral errors can be detected, the only 
shield by which their shafts can be turned aside ; and he is neither 
inducted into truth, nor enabled to judge rightly between it and error, 
who has not " from a child known the holy Scriptures, which are able 
to make him wise unto salvation." 

" But," says the author of the definition, " education is the means by 
which we are enabled to judge rightly between good and evil ;" and if 
so, then is an education, much more comprehensive than instruction in 
literature and science, demanded by the best interests of our children. 

As truth is of various kinds, so is evil. There is the evil of affliction ; 
but of that, experience, not education, is the preceptor. There are 
civil crimes, of which human laws take cognizance ; and by their 
penalties they teach the most ignorant their nature and their guilt. — 
But there are evils of another class ; evils which lie obscured in the 
darkness of the human heart until instruction detects their existence 
and writes their character ; evils which escape the periodical cogni- 
zance of courts of law, but on the principles or acts of which the laws 
of heaven animadvert through every moment of our being ; evils 
which, from their nature, human codes can neither check nor contem- 
plate, but are offences of high magnitude against that purity of which 


the Scriptures are the transcripts; evils which rise from the heart, 
pollute the imagination, disarrange the passions, sap the principles, 
corrupt the whole moral man, and place him in an attitude of hostility 
with his Maker. This is evil in its deepest sense ; and if, accord- 
ing to our definition, it is the business of education to enable us to 
judge rightly between good and eyil, it must connect itself very largely 
with the influence and authority of religion. The sole standard of 
moral good and evil is the will of God ; the Scriptures are the only 
means by which we can become fully acquainted with that will • and 
without their instrumentality neither can good nor evil be ascertained. 
To be without instruction, is to have no standard of judgment ; to be 
left to mere human science, is to be left to standards defective, varia- 
ble, and doubtful. In questions of good and evil, therefore, as in those 
of truth and error, we see the necessity of education being conducted 
by the aids of the inspired records. By them the heart is searched 
through all its labyrinths ; by their standard alone is sin made to 
appear " exceeding sinful ;" and in them it is connected with a future 
judgment and eternity. There alone is the fair form of moral beauty 
drawn out to its full proportions, and presented in legitimate features ; 
and above all, it is there we are taught, that the deepest vices of 
constitution and of habit are vincible, and the highest range of moral 
command and sanctity attainable. Our disease and remedy, our fall 
and recovery, are there constantly and equally before us. If then the 
definition of education we have given be just, it is the definition of an 
education of which religious instruction forms the most eminent part ; 
for by that alone can we be taught rightly to judge of the truths which 
most concern us, and to detect the errors which would be fatal, not to 
a temporary interest, but to our salvation ; to discover the good needed 
most, because needed by the moral and immortal man ; and to obtain 
monitory views of evil, by means which at once render it odious and 
evitable, Education may and ought to be more than this. In many 
ranks of life, it must be varied and comprehensive : we undervalue 
neither useful nor elegant acquirements ; but if education comprise not 
instruction in the " things" which, before all others, " belong to our 
peace," it is a venerable name unfitly and deceptiously applied.— 
From a process so partial and defective, no moral influence can 
spring ; it gives no virtue to the individual • it corrects no evil in 
society. To this the refined nations of antiquity bear mournful but in- 
structive testimony; and why, on a subject so solemnly important to our 
children and to our land, is not the voice of history regarded 1 She 
has written them refined, learned, and mighty ; but she has recorded 
their vices, and points to their desolations. If learning could have 
preserved them, why has their science survived their political exist- 
ence, and why does it live only in other climes ? Were they without 
that knowledge, the attainment of which we have too often considered 
to be the chief or the exclusive end of education? Were they destitute 
of genius, and taste, and arts,, and philosophy ? In all they are the 
confessed models of modern nations ; and that state has the highest 
fame which most successfully, though still distantly, approaches them. 
These they wanted not, but they wanted a true religion, and a people 
instructed in it. The politics they erected and adorned were built 
like Babylon, the capital of a still older state, with clay hardened only 


in the sun, and which has long become a mass of ruin undistinguished 
from its parent earth. They were without perpetuity, because they 
were without the elements of it. The fabric of their grandeur has 
crumbled down, because it was not combined with the imperishable 
principles of virtue ; and their want of virtue resulted from their want 
of religion. Shall examples, so frequently suggested to our recollec- 
tion by the books of our boyhood, the studies of our riper years, and 
the very terms and allusions of our language, admonish us in vain ? 
Yet, if reflection fail to teach us the absolute inadequacy of know- 
ledge, however perfected, to sustain, without the basis of religion, 
either the virtues of private life, or the weight of national interests, let 
us suffer ourselves to be roused into conviction by evidences which 
are ocular and palpable. Go into your public libraries, enriched by the 
literature of the classical states of ancient times, and see them crowded 
also with their mutilated marbles, brought from the fallen monuments 
of their greatness, and saved from the final wastes of time and barba- 
rism, to be placed in monitory collocation with the " wisdom of this 
world," mocking its imbecility ; as though Providence had thereby 
designed to teach us, that length of days is the sole gift of that wisdom 
whose beginning is " the fear of the Lord," and whose great lesson is 
to " depart from evil." Athens mourning along the galleries of our 
public museums, over the frail a?gis of her Minerva, admonishes us to 
put our trust within the shadow of the impenetrable shield of the 
truth of the living God. 

II. We apply the principles we have attempted to establish to the 
institutions in which you are so actively and usefully engaged. 

If literature only were considered, the pretensions and claims of Sun- 
day school institutions would be very humble. To teach the children 
of the poor to read, in order that they may be able to consult, for their 
instruction and comfort, the holy Scriptures, is their principal and 
legitimate object. In some instances the art of writing is added; but, 
in all well-regulated schools of this description, it is not taught on the 
Sabbath. There are teachers who, much to their honour, are willing 
to sacrifice one or two evenings of the week for this purpose, to main- 
tain the sanctity of that day unimpaired, and to employ it only in ser- 
vices which immediately connect themselves with religious objects. 
Humble, however, as are their pretensions in a literary view, if our 
observations on the subject of education be correct, they will give, as 
long as their original plan was kept sacred, what may be called 
education, in a very important sense, to the children of the poor ; and 
of the children trained up to knowledge and piety in well-conducted 
Sunday schools, (and I have sufficient information on the subject to 
warrant me in saying, that the majority of these institutions are con- 
ducted well,) it may be affirmed, that they are well educated. The 
letters they acquire are usually sufficient for the stations they attain in 
society ; and they are taught " the fear of the Lord." If, therefore, 
we rank them in the first class of the institutions of the present day, 
for the instruction of the lower orders of society, there are not wanting 
sufficient reasons to justify this eulogy. 

The number of children now educating in Sunday schools, is one 
character of their importance. A moderate calculation has stated 
them at half a million. This, it is true, is not such an estimate as 


offers any authority to relax our efforts. Great as the exertion is, it 
does not reach the magnitude of the wants ; for perhaps an equal 
number remain neglected by every educational charity. It is, never- 
theless, a cheering statement. It is the work of but a few years' 
date ; yet it has taken hold of a vast extent of public interest. Let us 
consider how far the good may extend ; the number of families, most 
of whom were dark and vicious, into which a reproving light and a sanc- 
tifvino- leaven have been carried. Let us trace this crowd of children 
into all the connections they will form in life, to the families into 
which they must multiply, and in which the knowledge and the good 
principles they themselves have received will in some degree operate, 
and our hopes may, without any presumption, rest on results of incal- 
culable consequence to individuals and to society. 

Sunday schools derive additional consideration from their necessity, 
A single circumstance marks this necessity. But for them this mul- 
titude of children must, for the most part, have remained ignorant and 
vicious. The necessity of the case has arisen from the poverty of 
parents ; the facility of employing children in the varied manufactures 
of the country ; the want of provision by other and too limited chari- 
ties, or from all these causes united. The fact, however, is not to be 
disputed. Sunday schools took the lead of those other institutions for 
the education of the children of the poor which are now in the most 
comprehensive activity ; they had the honour of urging them into their 
present scenes of operation ; but by none of them have they been 
superseded. This puts their necessity beyond all controversy, except 
with those who would rather see the poor left to a corrupting and 
demoralizing ignorance, than instructed in any but their own methods ; 
and when, to add to the absurdity, they themselves have slumbered in 
negligence during most of the time that Sunday schools have been in 
operation, and are not even now prepared with the means of meeting 
the present necessities of the children of the poor. A periodical work 
of some authority has lately sounded an alarm at so great a number 
of children being " dry nursed in dissent." From this charge the 
numerous Sunday schools conducted by excellent persons of the esta- 
blishment, must, of course, be excepted. Nor with less reason are you 
connected with Sunday schools conducted by the charity of other Chris- 
tian societies, to be shielded from it. The question indeed, fairly 
stated, is, not where or how these neglected children are to be nursed, 
but whether they are to be nursed at all. Or, if the question respect 
different kinds of nurture, it is, whether thousands of the children of 
the lower classes are to have the nurture of your catechisms, your 
Bibles, your hymns, and your pious advices, or the nurture of vice in 
its lowest and most degrading forms. Were we as a country arrived at 
so high a state of moral improvement that our institutions made ample 
provision for the Christian instruction of every neglected child in the 
empire, then might rivalry in this work obtain some colour and excuse 
from the common infirmities of our nature ; but in the present state of 
things, is it possible for us to be delicate about modes and places of 
instruction, provided it be Christian instruction, or the agents by which a 
work so pressing is conducted ? Are we to pause and dispute where 
the children of the poor are to acquire principles of morals and religion, 
when a report of the legislature has so lately stated the serious fact, 


that one hundred and twenty thousand children, in this metropolis 
alone, are destitute of education, and when the public, with its magis- 
trates, stand appalled at the increase of juvenile depravity ? But in 
whatever you nurture the children committed to your care, it is not 
true that you nurture them " in dissent." The conflicting opinions of 
men on a subject so difficult as that of Church government, are not 
introduced into your schools. You could not have the support of the 
public to such a system of education, were you even inclined to adopt 
it. Your catechisms contain those truths of religion only in which 
Christians, both in the establishment and out of it, agree ; and by the 
time a child has acquired ability to read the Bible, he, in most 
instances, passes from under your care. Let us rot then be charged 
with an intriguing sectarianism, while we are engaged in a work of 
common concern and interest. He alone is the true sectarian, who 
forgets that there is a common Christianity as well as a Christianity 
under the modification of his own party; who forgets that his duties 
to this common Christianity are of a higher obligation than those he 
owes, (and some he does owe,) to his own peculiarities ; and who 
would see a soul of man left to perish without concern, if not saved by 
the application of a process of his own. In whatever religious body 
that man is found, he, and he alone, is the true sectarian. 

The vigilant superintendence exercised over Sunday schools is 
another circumstance which advances them in the rank of educational 
charities. The activity of teachers is the energetic spring of the 
whole system ; but as few except young persons are so discharged 
from domestic engagements as to have leisure to occupy the office of 
teacher, prudent and zealous as such persons might be, it would be an 
obvious defect to leave such institutions without a careful superintend- 
ence ; and in fact they possess it in a degree probably superior to any, 
except some charities of an isolated and very limited character. — 
Few are the instances in which they do not occupy the care of minis- 
ters who know the books which are read, and the general methods of 
tuition. In all, persons of experience and worth, of confirmed reli- 
gious habits, glowing with Christian charity and paternal affection, 
give by turns a kind and vigilant oversight of a charge so important. 
It is thus that their religious character is maintained, and that the 
spirit in which these institutions are conducted is preserved in strict 
accordance with the designs of the sacred day. In no case are they 
left to a hireling, from whom, at the best, little more could be expected 
than to keep the mechanism of the system in play. It is thus that 
the nobler feelings of the hearts of those whose love to others ema- 
nates from the love of Christ, and is fed and supported by the solemn 
consideration of the value of a never-dying spirit, are brought to bear 
with a vigour ever renewing upon the great ends of the institution. — 
There are in all the schools so conducted motives in operation more 
vigorous than that of performing a task respectably, that the hire of it 
may with confidence be demanded; motives which run into expedients 
of ceaseless variety to accomplish their objects, and refresh exertion, 
even while they expend it. In them the machinery of education is not 
composed of wheels and springs, which owe their motion to the hand 
or the foot, but, like those seen by the prophet, there is a " spirit m 
the wheels," and they are " full of eyes," 


With me, I confess it is no small recommendation of these institu- 
tions, that, with few exceptions, the religious instruction they commu- 
nicate is the Gospel, in all its great and elementary principles. This 
is found in their catechisms, in the hymns sung, in the lectures 
delivered ; and it is fully secured by the reading of the whole Scrips 
tures. There is no compromise with those who " deny the Lord that 
bought them," to exclude from elementary instruction the fallen condi- 
tion of man, and that which it renders necessary, the sacrificial work 
of Christ, and the influences of the Holy Spirit. We rejoice indeed, 
as we ought, that this is not peculiar to Sunday schools ; that the 
increasing national schools, which now give their benefits to the chil- 
dren of the poor, as they secure the teaching of the national faith, 
secure by that means their instruction in all the truths of our common 
religion. As to others which adopt the principle of compromise and 
exclusion, I hesitate not to express my suspicions as to their beneficial 
tendency in all cases where some collateral means are not provided to 
supply the deficiency ; and certainly it can never be justly pleaded as 
a reason for giving up a single Sunday school, or for relaxing in our 
exertions to multiply' them, that in some places the institutions alluded 
to may appear sufficient to meet the wants of the children of the poor. 
This might be true, if our youth needed nothing but the arts of reading 
and writing to render them virtuous and happy. We have already met 
this question, and in part exposed the fallaciousness of hopes of civil 
and personal improvement, founded on so narrow a basis. Nor is 
the case much altered by alleging that the morals of Christianity are 
taught. Is Christianity then a system of morals only ? Has it no 
motives peculiar to itself, no sanctions, no assistances ? If we believe 
them. not, then let us profess it ; if we do, let us not lend ourselves to 
an attempt to weaken their influence in the world ; for the youth who 
knows them not as the first principles of his religious education will 
in most cases judge, that what has been taught him last in order of 
time is last in importance; or that what he was left to collect inciden- 
tally and by hazard is, in fact, of no importance at all. Paganism had 
its didactic codes ; and thev present views of great moral elevation. — 
But though they themselves remained for ages, they stood in the 
midst of manners ever declining for the want of religious doctrine. — 
They stood, but as the summit of a rock from the sides of which the 
vegetable mould has fallen, without soil to give root to a principle, or 
to support the bloom or feed the fragrance of a virtue. And what rea- 
son have we to expect more from even Christian morals ? As morals, 
though higher in demand, and of greater authority, their principles and 
their influence are the same. They are commands and directions, 
and they are nothing beside ; nor have they more efficacy without the 
spirit of religion, than " be. ye clothed and fed," without the spirit of 
charity. From the morals of the Bible, merely as such, no greater 
influence is to be expected, than from those of Epictetus and Seneca, 
if motives more powerful and assistances more large cannot also be 
offered. Man wants power as much as direction ; his hopes and his 
fears are the sinews of Iris virtue ; and when even his mind is 
instructed, he is motionless to the right until he feels the life of love. 
" We love him because he first loved us." Here is the spring of 
morality, — the heart of the whole systeni of Christian morals is the 


love of Christ. No education is religious in any Christian sense 
without the knowledge of the Gospel, and the hope of its practical 
influence rests therefore on the careful and full communication of its 
leading doctrines. To take the morals of the New Testament, and to 
discard its faith, is to sever the tree from the root while it is yet in bloom. 
The hues may be admired, and the fragrance be for a time as a field 
" which the Lord hath blessed ;" but " their blossom shall go up as 
dust, because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and 
despised the word of the Holy One of Israel." 

To the character of Sunday school teachers it is impossible, on such 
an occasion as this, not to pay a tribute of respect ; and their character 
adds another proof of the efficiency of the institutions themselves. In 
the great number who have thus devoted themselves to the gratuitous 
instruction of poor children, some will of course be found without the 
requisite qualities of sobriety, affection, piety, and patience ; the only 
elements from which the moral part of the character of a useful teacher 
can be formed. The greater the number of human agents employed 
jn any work, the greater display will there be of that infirmity which 
is common to our nature. But it is an animating consideration, that 
the great body of Sunday school teachers are taken from among those 
of our youth who from childhood " have known the Holy Scriptures," 
and by them have been made " wise unto salvation." If a large school 
of the children of the poor, assembled on a Sunday, singing the praises 
of the great Lord of the Sabbath and the lover of children, reading his 
word, or marching in procession to. his house, be a sight on which the 
eye cannot fall without transmitting a thrill of delighted sensibility 
through the benevolent affections ; it is a sight scarcely less interest- 
ing and welcome, to behold young people in different classes of society 
devoting themselves to communicate the instruction, and to accomplish 
the religious objects, of the institutions which have adopted them. — 
Their self denial is at least presumptive of their piety. They with- 
hold their feet from the walks of pleasure On the day of the Lord ; they 
sacrifice the enjoyments of the family circle in the intervals of public 
worship ; and many of them give their constant attendance at schools, 
whose occupations through the week require a severe confinement. — 
Thus to make the day of rest from worldly labour a day of laborious 
application to the duties of charity argues no small degree of active 
benevolence toward man, and of interest in the honour and the cause 
of God. From teachers of such a character ; from more than sixty- 
five thousand agents under the influence of these sentiments, engaged 
every Sabbath in implanting the first principles of religious doctrine in 
the minds of children in every part of the country, teaching them the 
sanctity and obligation of the Sabbath ; forming them to the habit of 
attending the public worship of almighty God ; furnishing their memo- 
ries with moral maxims, applicable to the various duties of civil and 
social life ; and watching over their improvement with a solicitude 
cherished by affection and religious zeal ; from the efforts of such 
teachers, the best moral effects are to be expected. No other institu- 
tions, in so great an extent, can exhibit an agency so qualified and so 
efficient to counteract the tendencies of corrupted human nature ; to 
form habits of industry, probity, and morals ; and diffuse them through 
the neglected part of the community. 


To these commendations is to be added, the end that crowns the 
means, — success. This is no longer doubtful ; and the degree of it 
•which, by the blessing of God, has been given, may be enjoyed with 
as little alloy as the condition of things can admit. Evil often lies by 
the side of good ; and there are consequences in many instances which 
follow even virtuous exertions, which much diminish the value and the 
joy of accomplishing their object. This is less the case in Sunday 
schools, rightly regulated, than in most other charities. The effects of 
them are most favourable to civil happiness ; they secure often the 
higher interests of the soul and eternity ; and it would be difficult to 
point out any unlooked-for reaction unfavourable or counteractive to 
the whole design. Those who are not raised to the moral condition 
which has been hoped are, at least, made no worse. No youth, how- 
ever dissipated, can sin more fearlessly or desperately for having had 
the fear of God planted in his heart in infancy. It is by the degree of 
religious information given to the understanding, that conscience ac- 
quires direction and authority; and he sins neither so fast nor so hope- 
lessly who is under her constant check, and is obliged to listen in every 
hour of solitude to her reproofs and, admonitions. Truth has its pre- 
ventive as well as its corrective office ; but from what individuals and 
the nation are. saved by Sunday school institutions, must be left to the 
revelations of a future da) 7 . This is a track of beneficent operation 
which the human eye cannot follow, because the benefit is negative. — 
Of positive good we have abundant evidence ; and it affords one of the 
most interesting inducements for perseverance and enlarged exertion 
in this department of benevolence. The grateful testimonies of mas- 
ters, parents, and neighbours, which your reports from year to year 
contain, are before the public : but this is only a small part of the 
proof. Rude and immoral neighbourhoods and villages have assumed 
an orderly aspect, and astonish those by the contrast who are able to 
make the comparison between their present and former state. Nume- 
rous instances have occurred where the light and influence of religion 
have been carried from the school into the family from which the 
scholar was taken ; and hoary age, apparent!} 7 confirmed in habits of 
irreligion, has learned from instructed infancy to read the Scriptures, 
and to seek the house of God. You whose eyes have watched the 
effects of your schools, because your hearts are interested in them, 
have traced the children of your classes into future life, and into or- 
derly habits, and respectable connections. And where is the Christian 
society to which a well-regulated Sunday school has been attached, 
but numbers among its most pious members many who there first 
learned the name of God and the obligations of religion ? This is 
success under its highest and most important aspects. We grant, that 
the civil advantages of these charities are very numerous and consider- 
able. As long as industry, morality, order, and submission to the laws, 
are national benefits, the support of Sunday schools must be deemed a 
work of patriotism as well as piety : but they reach far higher ; their 
direct tendency is to bring their little children to Christ ; and it will 
be found at the great day, that of many such is the kingdom of 

Such are the views of the necessity and importance of Sunday 
Bchools, which the most indubitable facts warrant us to entertain ; but 


though they may be properly urged as reasons for the continued sup- 
port of the public ; though they are mentioned on this occasion to en- 
courage your exertions, whether friends, visiters, or teachers ; they 
will, I hope, be considered as reasons why, with the greatest fidelity 
and seriousness, you should exert yourselves to maintain the present 
character of the institutions ; to attach them rigidly to their original 
principle ; and to mark and correct any aberration which may have 
taken place. On you has descended a very sacred trust. To you it 
is left to impel an important device of active charity into the play of 
wider and more vigorous action, or to check its benign energy, and 
turn it from its course. Yours is no common charge. You may keep 
up the bustle of activity, you may sound the note of preparation for 
new efforts, you may present us with the array of numbers, and the 
apparatus of tuition ; but if once you are betrayed by those vague and 
false notions of the moral efficacy of mere instruction in letters, which 
have had already too much countenance in the world, you betray this 
cause. You extinguish its vivifying spirit ; you remove the cup of 
salvation ; you disregard the voice of Christ, " Suffer the little children 
to come unto me, and forbid them not." On this subject you will per- 
mit me to be explicit, because I feel its importance. A Sunday school 
which does not, as its principal object, teach religion ; which does not 
subordinate every thing to that object; which does not rigorously judge 
of every part of its management by its moral influence ; which does 
not exclude every thing secular ; which does not accustom its children 
to the habitual public worship of God ; (for school worship is not pub- 
lic worship ;) which does not carefully teach the Scriptures ; and which 
has not the vigilance and cares of piety as well as of zeal, is not worth 
supporting. No moral effects can be expected from it. If these, its 
proper objects, be only partially regarded, or mixed with others of a 
counteracting kind, the good produced will be neutralized, and labour 
and bounty be expended in vain ; if they are in any great degree ne- 
glected, the evil will predominate. We may raise the intellectual 
character ; but, unless the moral man have an equal culture and growth, 
we produce only disease, deformity, and death. 

To engage you therefore constantly and perseveringly in the serious 
and religious direction of the schools under your care, let us, 

III. Consider the speaking and expressive action of our Lord, as 
recorded in the text. 

" And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them." This 
action might well be put in the place of a long discourse. It has an 
emphasis more powerful than speech ; it at once enlightens our reason 
and moves our hearts. " He took a child." Such an object seldom 
fails to excite kind and tender emotions. In a child we see freedom 
from actual transgression ; and, consequently, innocence, affection, 
dependence, docility, soft and unruffled enjoyment. These are the 
characters of children which engage our regards ; but they are by this 
action of Christ exhibited to us, as though to remind us the more for- 
cibly that all these qualities are daily exposed to new dangers. The 
more we admire the beauty and delicacy of the blossom, the greater 
reason is there to guard against the blight and the frosts which lie in 
wait to wither it. " Folly is bound up in tb-j heart of a child." It is 
yet " bound up," but it is there ; and, without your care, awful may be 


Us development. " Out of the heart of man," He said who only fully 
knows it, " proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 
thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, blasphemy, pride, foolishness." 
The seeds of all these vices lie hidden in the heart even of an infant, 
and wait but culture and opportunity to start up and cover the accursed 
soih deceitful countenance of infancy ! what art thou but a summer 
sea, bright, placid, and inviting, but how quickly to yield to the storm, 
to darken and to frown, and to behold thyself surrounded with the wrecks 
of innocence, peace, and virtue ! These storms will rise ; but they need 
not necessarily devour. They are not uncontrollable. Into your hands, 
who devote yourselves to the care of the children of your schools, God 
has committed a power over these moral elements. To the voice of 
human eloquence they will be deaf; but they know to obey the com- 
missioned rod of Moses, of prophets, and evangelists. To you is as- 
signed the office of fixing, in the depths of the heart, principles which 
shall render it le'ss yielding to the impulses which would bear upon if 
with irresistible force, and urge it onward to destruction, in ungoverna- 
ble tides and waves of passion. To you belongs the duty of introduc- 
ing truths into the mind, whose voice will be heard and command 
attention even in a mind tossed and heaved with temptation ; and in 1 
how many cases, you will never know till the day of eternity, will that 
Saviour, wham you teach the children committed to your care to know 
and reverence, walk to them on the waters, and in the very crisis of 
their danger say to the winds, " Peace, be still !" 

" He took a child, and set him in the midst of them," and said, " Who- 
soever shall not receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child, shall not 
enter therein." There must, then, be something in the character of a 
child to encourage your exertions, or it could not have been exhibited 
as an example to adult disciples. This is confirmed by experience.- 
There are certain natural virtues of childhood upon which the diligent 
and observant instructor may engraft moral ones ; and if the blessing 
of God be sought, he shall not be disappointed in the attempt. Deeply 
as we are fallen, evil does not at once usurp unlimited sway ; and that 
space may be afforded for the application of a Christian education, our 
natural corruption is not suffered to acquire maturity but by a gradual 
process. God has impressed this law upon sin itself, that he may 
encourage and invite the efforts of parents and Christian teachers. 
Seize then "this sweet hour of prime," the most hopeful and important 
in human life. A child is yet the creature of imitation : hold up, then, 
the example of " whatsoever things are piire, and honest, and lovely, 
and of good report." " If there be any virtue, any praise," let it be 
presented to the understanding, let it meet the eye, let it be urged upon 
the heart. The matter is yet plastic : let. a mould be prepared to 
receive it, which bears the character you would wish it permanently 
to present, when it becomes fixed and- unyielding. The child is still 
under authority, the mind bends to superior years and rank : be your 
authority, then, ranged on the side of Heaven, and the influence of it 
may be everlasting. As yet the passions are unawakened, the shocks 
of temptation are feeble, the enemy is at a distance : improve the op- 
portunity. Lay the foundation of the moral superstructure deep in the 
fear of God and the love of Christ ; and "though the winds shall blow, 
and the rains descend, and the waves beat upon that house'" you may 


be amply rewarded for past, and be encouraged to future labours, when 
you see it stand in the eventful trial of its foundation ; because you 
have " built it upon a rock." 

" And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them." But the 
interest of this action is heightened by other and stronger lights than 
those in which we have hitherto viewed it. Yesterday that child wa3 
nothing ; but when will it cease to be ? Never ! Immortality is writ- 
ten upon it, and the inscription is indelible, for it was traced by the 
finger of God. The mind has but begun its play ; its instincts and its 
faculties but now move with incipient life. Even dull and worthless 
matter is of older date. " Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the 
earth." Ages of history passed before it was said of him, "A child is 
born into the world." History will continue its annals, matter its com- 
binations, the heavens their course ; but he shall survive them alL The 
revolutions of ages shall be forgotten, the high events of life chase each 
other from the stage, "the fashion of this world pass away ;" a period 
may arrive when it shall require an effort of even a perfected memory 
to recall the events accounted the most important on earthy "the 
heavens shall pass away with a great noise," and leave the spaces they 
have occupied to silence and to nothing ; but the child set in the midst 
of us " shall then be." The basis of its existence cannot be shaken ; 
but in those countless ages which its existence must fill, never let it 
be forgotten that it will be a happy spirit before the throne of God, or 
a hopeless outcast from his heaven. What then, if it depend on you 
in any degree to stamp bliss on that immortality, " to save a soul from 
death," can I call forth your pious cares in the service of the institu- 
tions you have espoused, by a more powerful motive ; by a motive of 
which you can be more sensible ? I know that other motives of great 
power are in operation, and I would not undervalue them. Your tri- 
umphs are in the first order of civil and moral achievements ; but they 
all terminate here, — " to save a soul from death" is the crowning con- 
quest. You save from great and afflictive vices ; that is much. You 
preserve that virgin innocence from pollution ; you spare the feelings 
of that mother who might, but for your institutions, have been doomed to 
count her days of grief, and nights of anguish, by the pulsations of a 
broken heart. You rescue that youth from habits of destructive folly 
and shame, " from the strange woman whose house leads to death, and 
whose feet take hold of hell." You purge the mass out of which a 
future generation is to be formed, and prepare elements for a better 
state of society ; but the power of doing more than this is given you, 
and the very possibility of influencing the eternal felicity of a spirit of 
man never to lose its being or its consciousness, is animating, and 
ought to arouse your energy and give perseverance to its application. 
What, if you are the honoured instruments of giving any considerable 
proportion of the immortal spirits committed in infancy to your care, to 
the Churches of Christ on earth, and to the general assembly of hea- 
ven ! This is not mere possibility ; it is probable ; in some cases it 
is certain. It has been done already. You see adults, once the chil- 
dren of your schools, " walking in the truth," giving encouraging hopes 
of perseverance and eternal salvation. Your reports contain affecting 
accounts of the pious and hopeful deaths of many of your children of 
different ages. You have witnessed in them a perfect patience, an 


ardent love of the Saviour, a strong and cheering faith in his mercy. 
You have commended them with sure and certain hope, in their last 
moments, to Him who, in heaven as on earth, hath said, " Suffer the 
little children to come unto me, and forbid them not ; for verily I say 
unto you, that their angels," or spirits, " do always behold the face of 
their Father which is in heaven." This is the lofty prize for which 
vou run ; and this is the honour which God sometimes puts upon youi 
" work of faith, and labour of love/' 

Finally. You are encouraged by a declaration in the text, the im- 
port of which many of you, I am sure, will duly appreciate : " Who- 
soever receiveth one of such children in my name, receiveth me." To 
receive children to instruct them merely in human learning would not. 
certainly be receiving them in his name. That implies much more. 
But when you receive them to instruct in his religion, to lead them to 
him as their Saviour, to train them up in his nurture and admonition, 
you receive them in his name ; and in so doing you " receive him." 
He will not be unmindful of your pious cares for those he loves. You 
" are a blessing" to them ; and the action will reciprocate, — " you shall 
be blessed;" you shall receive him ; you shall be his care; "your 
seed shall be blessed upon earth ; and your horn shall he exalt with 
honour" in his Churches. Go, then, with redoubled zeal to your great 
work. Extend your institutions, and bind them anew to the altars of 
your God, by which only they can be sanctified. Convey light and 
blessing into families yet dark and wretched ; and seek the sheep 
which are yet in the wilderness. The blessing of God be upon your 
work. May it prosper in your hands. May you save souls from death, 
and prevent or cover a multitude of sins. Take with you our wishes,, 
our earnest prayers ; and take what is more important to you than 
these, the. encouragement of the text, " Whosoever shall receive one 
of such children in my name, receiveth me ; and he that receiveth 
me, receiveth not me only, but him that sent me." 

Sermon IV. — Man Magnified hy the Divine Regard. 

" What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him ? and that thou shouldesl set 
thine heart upon him ?" Job vii, 17. 

It is the character of almost all speculative systems of unbelief, 
that, while they palliate or excuse the moral pravity of our nature, they 
depreciate and undervalue that nature itself. 

By' some of them it is denied that " there is a spirit in man :" the 
lofty distinction between mind and matter is confounded ; and the 
organization of a clod is thought sufficient to give birth to reason and 
feeling ; to all that dignifies the nature of man in comparison with the' 
capacities of animals. 

If a few allow that this frame, disorganized by death, shall live 
again by a resurrection, and thus only make death a parenthesis in our 
being, the majority take a wider sweep into speculative impiety ; pluck 
off the crown of immortality which was placed upon the head of 


human nature by the trinity in council ; and doom him who in this life 
feels that he but begins to live, to live no more. Thus death is not 
the mere parenthesis, but the period of life ; the volume closes at the 
preface ; and vice exults at the news, that this portal of our present 
existence leads only to airy, empty nothingness. 

Another stratagem of the philosophy which has no faith, is to per- 
suade us that we are but atoms in the mass of beings ; and that to 
suppose ourselves noticed by the Great Supreme, either in judgment 
or in mercy, is an unfounded and presumptuous conceit. With David, 
there are persons who lead us out to survey the ample cope of the 
firmament, "the moon and the stars" which God "hath ordained," and 
cry, not like him in adoring wonder at the fact, but in the spirit of a 
base and groveling unbelief, " What is man, that" God " should be 
mindful of him ?". 

The word of God stands in illustrious and cheering contrast to all 
these chilling and vicious speculations. As to our moral condition, it 
lays us deep in the dust, and brings down every high imagination, 
" The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." In 
our unregenerate state, we are represented as capable of no good, and 
incapable of no evil. But it never abases our nature itself, In this 
sacred record, this testimony of God, man is the head and chief of the 
system he inhabits, and the image of God. He is arrayed in immor- 
tality, and invested with high and even awful capacities both of good 
and evil. Nay, more; low as he may be reduced by sickness and 
poverty, his interest in his Maker's regards continues unbroken and 
unforfeited. So in the text, Job, poor, diseased, unpitied, and forsaken, 
sees the hand, yes, and the heart of God, in his trouble ; and in a 
strain of devout gratitude exclaims, " What is man, that thou shouldest 
magnify him, and that thou shouldest set thy heart upon him !" 

This is an important subject, and just views respecting it are con- 
nected with important practical results. That we may be truly hum- 
bled, we ought indeed fully to enter into those descriptions which the 
Scriptures have given us of our fallen condition ; to every one of which 
we shall find our experience to answer, even "as face answers to face 
in a glass." But we are to remember both from whence we are fallen, 
and what we are capable of regaining by the grace of God ; the mercy 
which he who made us is still disposed to exercise ; and the natural 
powers which it is the object of that mercy to raise, sanctify, and 
direct ; that, animated by this display of Divine goodness both in crea- 
tion and redemption, we may " lay hold on the hope set before us," and 
be roused to the pursuit of that " glory, honour, and immortality" which 
are not only hopeful, but certain to all who seek them. 

It is proposed, therefore, 

I. To offer some illustrations of the doctrine of the text, that God 
"magnifies" man, and " sets his heart" upon him. 

II. To point out the practical improvement which flows from facts 
so established, and so expressive of the Divine benignity. 

. I. We call your attention to certain considerations illustrative of the 
doctrine of the text. 

1. God hath " magnified" man by the gift of an intellectual nature. 

This circumstance, as illustrative of the Divine goodness, and of our 
obligation to grateful affection and a right conduct, is frequently 

Vol. I. 4 


adverted to in Scripture. He hath " made us to know more than the 
beasts of the field, and to be wiser than the fowls of heaven." — 
" There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth 
him understanding." In the process of forming this lower world, and 
the system connected with it, various degrees of creating grace, so to 
speak, were dispensed. This was righteous ; no creature has any 
claim to being at all, nor to any particular mode or circumstance of 
bein^ ; and, therefore, the dispensation of existence in various modes 
was wholly at the pleasure of the Creator ; and none has the right 
petulantly to say to him, " Why am I thus ?" It was also wise ; 
being necessary to variety, as variety is necessary to perfection. We 
see, therefore, in this vast mass of created beings, unorganized matter 
without life ; matter organized, as in vegetables, with life, but without 
sensation ; and, in the inferior animals, with life, sense, and a portion 
of knowledge, but without reason. But in man, the scale rises 
unspeakably higher ; and his endowments are extended beyond mere 
animal life and sensation, however delicate and varied, and beyond 
instinct, whatever that mysterious power may be, to a rational soul, to 
deep and various mental affections, and to immortality itself. Here, 
then, we see him magnified. Amidst all the beings which surround 
us in this visible universe, he alone is capable of surveying the whole 
with thought and reflection ; of tracing the Author of the whole work, 
and marking the display of his perfections ; of yielding to him adora- 
tion and homage ; of sanctifying the varied scene to moral uses ; or, 
of improving his capacity ; — and he alone is susceptible of the senti- 
ment of religion. And as God has thus " magnified" him, he has also 
" set his heart upon him." Man is the only visible creature in the 
heavens, and in the earth, which God, in the proper sense of the word, 
could love ; for no creature is capable of being loved but one which 
is also capable of reciprocal knowledge, regard, and intercourse. — 
Other things might be approved, and pronounced " very good ;" but 
man alone was loved. He was the only being with whom the Maker 
of all could hold intercourse. Him, therefore, he admitted into fellow- 
ship ; with him he conversed thought to thought, and made his pre- 
sence vital, and interiorly sensible to him ; delighting in him, and 
teaching him to delight in God. The same regards he has to us, 
though fallen ; and, by methods we shall afterward mention, still seeks 
man as his beloved son, invites him to his forgiving bosom, and makes 
the human heart his favoured and his chosen temple. 

2. God has " magnified" man by the variety, and the superior nature 
of the pleasures of which he has made him capable. 

His are the pleasures of contemplation. These the inferior animals 
have not. No subjects but such as are urged upon them by present 
necessity engage their thoughts. Their view of present things is also 
limited. The most splendid scenes of nature are thrown around them 
without arousing attention, or awakening taste, and the power of com- 
parison. The past would seem to be a perfect blank to them ; the 
future derives no light from the analogies which observation and 
experience furnish to man, and by which its gloom is somewhat 
broken. Moral subjects and moral actions, which furnish to us so 
inexhaustible a source of thought, are to them unknown ; nor is it indi- 
cated by any of the phenomena which those that approach nearest to 


intellectual character exhibit, that the cause of any thing whatever is 
with them a matter of the least curiosity. All these are the subjects 
of human contemplation. As far as we can perceive, they are also 
inexhaustible ; and the powers which we may apply to them are capa- 
ble of unmeasurable enlargement. From this wondrous capacity arises 
a pleasure as copious as it is rich and invigorating, whenever the 
choice of subjects is worthy, and our train of thinking well laid. The 
deep and continued abstractions of profound genius, the ardour and 
intensity of the poet, the patient labour of the inventor of useful or 
curious machines, the command which books and conversation exer- 
cise over intellectual men, prove the vigour of the pleasure which 
arises from well-directed mental exercises ; and in all this the benevo- 
lence of God is affectingly manifested. He has " taught us to know," 
and has opened to us the felicity of knowing ; a felicity to which the 
pleasures of sense, though they also are proofs of his benevolence, 
bear no comparison, either in loftiness or duration. In the one we 
have a pleasure in common with all animal natures ; in the other we 
share the felicities of angels, and the blessedness of God himself. 

His are the pleasures of devotion. And can it be rationally denied 
that devotion is the source of even a still higher pleasure than know- 
ledge ? Does it arise from awe and reverence of the Divine Majesty ? 
If a sense of our reconciliation to God accompany it, it is the awe of 
bending and silent seraphs, which gives depth and richness to the 
joys of the spirit, but is not inconsistent with them. Does it express 
itself in praise for mercies ? It is gratitude directed to the highest 
Benefactor, and called into liveliest exercise by the magnificence 
of his mercies; and grp.titude is a pleasurable emotion, and the 
more so as it is more intense. Thus it affected the mind of David : 
" How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God !" Is the 
devotion private ? Then intercourse with God is the intercourse 
of friendship, rendered more tender and confiding by a filial confi- 
dence ; every burden is discharged, every wish freely expressed, and 
the soul's peace is fed and constantly guarded by a confidential cor- 
respondence. Does the devotional principle seek expression in the 
courts of the house of our God ? New circumstances are added to 
deepen the impression, and enlarge the joy. With " a multitude" of 
consentaneous hearts we " keep holiday ;" with them we joy to 
acknowledge and proclaim the God we love before a forgetful world • 
we have a sense of delightful communion with the Church on earth, 
wherever its members are found, and with the redeemed and angelic 
throngs in heaven. The calm Sabbath is at once " a day honourable 
and full of delights," and a pleasing emblem of cessation from earthly 
cares, and of those exclusive, hallowed, and spiritual employments 
which are reserved for the spirits of just men made perfect. 

His are the pleasures of sympathy and benevolence ; and to man 
they are peculiar. No inferior nature, however near its apparent 
approach to him, is capable of them. It is a source of enjoyment, 
paradoxical as it may appear on a superficial view, to feel that we can 
" weep with them that weep," and thus ally ourselves to the common 
nature, and the common lot, of man. Even our most painful sympa- 
thies for others prepare the heart to receive direct consolation itself 
by the sensibility from which they flow, and which they call into 


exercise, and preserve susceptible. The spring of benevolence is 
thus opened ; the stream flows whenever its refreshment can be 
imparted ; and from thence arises the satisfaction of doing good to the 
bodies and to the souls of men ; the joy of instructing the ignorant, of 
recovering the lost, of guarding the feeble, of protecting the innocent, 
and of giving impulse to institutions of usefulness, and vigour to great 
plans for the benefit of nations, and the whole race of man itself. 

His are the pleasures of. hope. These, too, are not only his in a 
more high and excellent sense, but they are his exclusively. Nothing 
but man looks beyond the present, and the glow of hope was reserved 
to warm his bosom alone. How great is the exuberance of the Divine 
goodness to us in this respect ! Many of the blessings which God 
hath designed for us are known ; and by anticipation they are tasted 
beforehand, and are thus many times enjoyed. If we are the objects 
of his favour, the future is ever brightening to the eye of meditation. 
Our steps shall be guided by an infallible counsel ; our good and our 
evil shall be distributed with kind and wise parental regard ; firmness 
supplied by him shall raise us above our trials, and victory crown pur 
conflicts. Another world is enlightened by its own peculiar glories ; 
and presents the glorified body, the spirit in immediate union with 
God, the absence of all evil, and the consummation of all the good 
enjoyed in this present life. And though there are objects of hope 
which are unknown, because " it doth not yet appear what we shall 
be," yet this only heightens the emotion ; the good toward which it 
reaches is unbounded and ineffable ; it surpasses thought, and escapes 
the combining power of the imagination itself: it is unknown, because 
it transcends, not because it is unreal ;. and this indefinite good embo- 
dies itself, in order that it may be seized by hope, in some form of 
expression as indefinite as itself, but which suggests the loftiest, 
deepest, amplest thoughts of a mysterious glory and blessedness : "It 
doth not appear what we shall be ;" but ".we shall be like him, for we 
shall see him as he i-s." 

These observations afford a sufficient answer to those who would 
degrade man ; shame him out of his confidence in his Maker, by insti- 
tuting a comparison between him and the vastness of inanimate nature ; 
and thus endeavour to overwhelm him by a sense of his individual 
insignificance. But, .extend the limits of the material universe as you 
may ; make every star a sun, and every sun the centre of an expan- 
sive system of secondary luminaries, sweeping the immeasurable 
spaces with their orbits ; what is there in all this parade and pomp of 
amplification to lower, in the smallest possible degree, the sentiment 
of the text, and to weaken its delightful and reviving impression upon 
our minds 1 This universe of material things cannot think ; no sen- 
sation thrills through any part of it ; it is totally unconscious of itself. 
The sun knows not his own splendour, nor the lightnings their force, 
nor the air its refreshing qualities. The earthly world has no com- 
munion with God, nor God with it. It yields to his hand without per- 
ception ; it obeys without a principle of choice. It was not made for 
its own sake, but. for the sake of that very being who can think, and 
feel, and adore ; the sun to warm, the earth to sustain and feed, the air 
to refresh him ; it has beauty for his eye, and mvJsic for his ear, and 
grandeur to elevate and fill his spirit, and curious contrivances and 


phenomena of power and majesty, to lead his thoughts to the won- 
drous Artificer, and to prostrate his affections in his presence, under 
the weight of joy arid awe. Let infidelity contemptuously display her 
planets, and their spacious sweeps ; we show the being who enume- 
rates the objects with which they are rilled, marks their wondrous 
concatenation, and their series of secondary causes and effects, exults 
in their light, meditates in their darkness, measures their orbits, tracks 
them in their courses, connects them all with God their Maker, makes 
them subservient to morals, religion, devotion, hope, and confidence, 
and takes up, at every new discovery, the song of the morning stars, 
—-the angel witnesses of the birth of material nature, who sang toge- 
ther when the laying of the foundations of the earth presented a new 
and heretofore unconceived manifestation of the wisdom, power, and 
bounty of the Godhead. Which, we ask, is the greater, — the single 
being, whether man or angel, who sees, and knows, and admires, and 
is instructed by this dread magnificence of nature ; or that nature 
itself, which knows neither that it is magnificent, nor that it. exists at 
all ? The argument is turned upon the objector, and the greatness of 
nature only proves the greatness of man. 

And suppose this vast assemblage of worlds to be inhabited bv 
beings as rational as ourselves, what does this avail to prove us 
" insects" and " reptiles ?"— the rank which the ambition of infidelity 
would assign to man. It is asked, indeed, What are we among so 
many 1 The answer is, Just what we should be if we existed alone, 
— the same rational, sentient, improvable, immortal beings, whom God 
has " magnified," and on whom " he has set his heart." Number's can 
have no tendency to lower the individual ; nor many races of spiritual 
beings, to lower each separate race. Holiness is not less valuable to 
me, as the source of peace, and hope, and confidence, because millions 
are holy ; nor sin less destructive and painful, if millions have caught 
the infection. Is a father's love, or a mother's tenderness, diminished 
because the family is numerous ? And yet some such monstrous sup- 
position must be assumed before the conclusions of this heartless, god- 
less, and hopeless philosophy could be established. 

In the rank, then, and supereminence of man, we may justlv say, 
that "the gentleness of God hath made him great;" and his delight in 
him. is such that he has made him deathless. Every material object 
changes.; even animals, which have a portion of mind die ; " The 
spirit of a beast goeth downward ;" but the spirit of man " goeth 
upward" to Him that made it, to rest in his bosom, and to abide in his 
presence. How great a proof is immortality that God " hath set his 
heart" upon us ', He would not lose us by the extinction of our being ; 
and to that spirit which God hath made, and from which he will never 
withdraw the communion of his presence and love, the very words 
may he applied, which so strikingly characterize his own immortality, 
— " These shall perish ; but thou remainest ; and these all shall wax old 
as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they 
shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end." 

3. The text receives its most striking illustration from the conduct 
of God to man considered as a sinner. If under this character we 
have still been loved ; if still, notwithstanding ingratitude and rebellion, 
we are loved; then, in a most emphatic sense,. in a sense which we 


cannot adequately conceive or express, God hath " set his heart'' 
upon us. 

We must not hide it from you, that all those capacities and endow- 
ments of a spiritual and immortal nature, to which we have just ad- 
verted, may become the bane and curse of all, and have actually become 
a terrible inheritance to many. A rational nature is capable of evil, 
and, being liable to evil, is liable to punishment. We may speculate 
on the origin of evil, on moral liberty, necessity, and other similar sub- 
jects as we may ; but the awful fact remains the same, — we are thus 
liable. This seems to arise out of our freedom of choice, without which 
our nature must have been constituted essentially different, and, it 
would seem also, greatly inferior. No rational creature perishes but 
by his own fault ; but he may perish. As to man the case is deter- 
mined, the line has been passed ; he has fallen, he is under wrath, 
every mouth is stopped, and the whole world is become guilty before 
God. Here, then, the doctrine of the text comes forth in all its tender- 
ness. We have two facts before us : the human race has become 
liable to the penalty of sin, to all the miseries which a great and an im- 
mortal nature can suffer ; and yet, because God hath " set his heart" 
upon him, the whole of this terrible punishment may be remitted, and 
a restoration to grace and felicity be attained. How is this ? Mark 
the means of our reconciliation to God, and mark the result ; " and at 
each step let higher wonder rise." 

Reflect upon the means. 

The great agent of our recovery was the eternal Son of God, who 
voluntarily became the representative of the whole sinning race, was 
incarnated, humbled to a low and despised condition, suffered in our 
stead intolerable torments, and died the universal sacrifice and atone- 
ment for the sins of men. So God " set his heart" upon man, that for 
our rescue he spared not his own Son. " Dear" as he was to him, he 
spared him not. " Dear" in his humanity ; for it was unstained with 
the original taint of fallen human nature, and through life was sanctified 
to God in a course of perfect and cheerful obedience : " dear," for the 
generous manner in which that human nature consented, with the 
Divine, to an obedience which was to extend to death, " even the death 
of the cross :" " dear," as the temple of the Divine nature, of the 
second person of the Godhead, and that person infinitely dear, as 
" his own," " his proper Son," " the Son of his love ;" yet he " spared" 
him not. " It" even " pleased the Father to bruise him and put him to 
grief." What words are these ! The love of God to man surmounted 
even that natural anxiety to preserve an object so beloved as his own 
Son, from ignominy, and grief, and deep and awful suffering; the 
innocent was given for the guilty, and the chastisement of our peace 
was laid upon him, that by his stripes we might be healed. " So God 
loved the world ;" and so in that hour of darkness he set his love on 
man. " Herein," says St. John, " is love." Where shall we go for 
manifestations of the tenderness, the sympathy, the benignity of God ? 
The philosopher of this world leads us to nature, its benevolent final 
causes, and kind contrivances to increase the sum of animal happiness ; 
and there he stops, — with half his demonstration ! But the apostle leads 
us to the Gift bestowed by the Father for the sake of the recovery of 
man's intellectual and moral nature, and to the cross endured by the 


Son, on this high behalf. Go to the heavens, which canopy man with 
grandeur, cheer his steps with successive light, and mark his festivals 
by their chronology ; go to the atmosphere, which invigorates his spirits, 
and is to him the breath of life ; go to the smiling fields, decked with 
verdure for his eye, and covered with fruits for his sustenance ; go to 
every scene which spreads beauty before his gaze, which is made 
harmoniously vocal to his ear, which fills and delights the imagination 
by its glow or by its greatness ; we travel with you, we admire with 
you, we feel and enjoy with you, we adore with you, but we stay not 
with you. We hasten onward in search of a demonstration more con- 
vincing, that " God is love ;" and we rest not till we press into the 
tArange, the mournful, the joyful scenes of Calvary, and amidst the 
throng of invisible and astonished angels, weeping disciples, and the 
mocking multitude, under the arch of the darkened heaven, and with 
earth trembling beneath our feet, we gaze upon the meek, the resigned, 
but fainting Sufferer, and exclaim, " Herein is love," — herein, and no 
where else is it so affectingly, so unequivocally demonstrated, — " not 
that we loved God ; but that God loved us, and sent his Son to be the 
propitiation for our sins." 

Mark the result. 

The great consequence of the propitiatory death of Christ is, that 
God is so reconciled as to offer pardon and eternal life to all mankind. 
The whole race is taken into a new relation to God, a relation of mercy. 
" God is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." The whole 
trinity is employed in this work of grace, — in offering and dispensing 
mercy, and grace, and salvation ; in illuminating, sealing, and sancti- 
fying ; in comforting, aiding, and counselling ; and a most sweet 
and harmonious agreement exists between Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost, to " set their heart" on man, to restore him to their blessed 
communion, and to fit him for the eternal presence of their ineffable 

4. This being the new relation in which we stand to God "through 
the death of his Son," let us finally on this part of the subject, consider 
the means by which his gracious purpose of " magnifying man," by 
raising him out of his fallen condition, is pursued and effected. 

(1.) He has, with the kindest regard for our higher interests, 
attached emptiness to worldly good, and misery to vice. 

This explains the suffering which is in the world. Who can solvo 
the problem, that man not yet finally condemned, not yet .placed in the 
state required by an exact and extreme justice, should yet be in a suf- 
fering condition ? Not the " wise of this world." It has puzzled every 
sage in every age of time, and led to an endless variety of speculations 
and corrupt superstitions. But our text solves it. Why is there emp- 
tiness in worldly good? Because God would "magnify" man, and 
raise him from low pursuits, he has made all on earth vain and unsub- 
stantial. Because he " sets his heart" upon him, he would deliver 
him from vice, and has therefore made every evil passion, temper, and 
appetite, the source of bitterest misery. Had he been careless of 
our welfare, could " his heart" have consented to our ruin, he would 
have left us, like the brute, to be satisfied with our pleasure, nor would 
any complaining have been heard in the rich pasture. Had not the 
pain of sin been intended as a remedy, it would have been accompa- 


rued with utter despair, or never have been felt ; the sting would have 
lain inert and powerless under the pleasure, till another world should 
awaken it from its torpor, and envenom it with a poison for. which there 
shall be no healing. 

(2.) In pursuance of the same design of munificent goodness, it has 
pleased God to establish a constant connection between our discipline 
and correction, between his providential dispensations and moral ends. 
Man is placed under rule ; but the end proposed is the exercise of grace 
and mercy. 

Are we prosperous ? " The goodness of God leadeth to repentance." 
Are we afflicted? See the end: "What is man, that thou shouldest 
magnify him ; that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him 
every moment ?" " Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with 
man, that he may keep back his soul from the pit." 

(3.) For the same reason, and that he may show that he hath " set 
his heart" upon man, he hath opened his ears to our prayers, and in- 
vites them both by commands and promises : nor does a prayer ascend 
from the heart of a human creature which he does not regard. 

Does oppression wring from the labouring and overcharged heart of 
any of his creatures the agonizing appeal to heaven ? " I have heard, 
I have heard," is his response to Israel, groaning under Egyptian task- 
masters. Does it ascend from the widow and the orphan ? " A father 
of the fatherless, and a judge of the widow, is God in his holy habita- 

Is prayer offered when men are pressed on every side with worldly 
calamities and dangers ? How many striking instances of kind regard 
to prayer in such circumstances are furnished to us in Psalm cvii ! 
See a company of travellers fainting amidst a boundless expanse of 
burning sand in an eastern desert : " Hungry and thirsty, their souls 
fainted within them ; then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, 
and he heard them, and he delivered them out of their distresses, and 
he led them forth by a right way." Behold a number of captives 
" sitting in darkness, being bound in affliction and iron." Could lan- 
guage draw the colour of their lot more deeply ? But they too " cry 
unto the Lord in their trouble ;" and when " they fell down, and there 
was none to help, he saved them out of their distresses ; he brought 
them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bonds 
in sundev." 

Behold the afflicted : " Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat, and 
they draw near to the gates of death ; then they cry "unto the Lord, and 
he saveth them ; he sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them 
from their destructions." 

See the affrighted mariners in a storm at sea : " They mount up to the 
heaven, they go down again to the depths, their soul is melted because of 
trouble : they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them 
out of their distresses ; he maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves 
thereof are still : then are they glad because they be quiet ; so he 
bringeth them unto their desired haven." Well may we say, at such 
instances of the Divine regard to the voice of man, " O that men would 
praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the 
children of men !" 

But his regard to the prayer of man, on whom he has " set his 


heart," is not confined to deliverance from outward calamities, and the 
supply of worldly blessings. Let penitent man approach him, laden as 
ne maybe with the guilt of his offences, conscious of his entire unwor- 
thiness, and the unworthiness of all his services, acknowledging his 
desert of punishment, but yet pleading the atonement of his Saviour, 
laying hold upon the horns of the altar of his cross, smiting upon his 
breast and saying, " God be merciful to me a sinner !' " Will he plead 
against him with his great power 1 No ; but he will put strength in 
him." " He will remember his covenant ;" he will pass by, and pro- 
claim his name, " The Lord, merciful and gracious ;" and the broken- 
hearted, humbled, and believing man, healed, and cheered, and com- 
forted in his God, " shall go down to his house justified." And with 
respect to the covenanted right of prayer how large is the grant to 
believers,^-" All are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's !" 
" Be careful for nothing ; but in every thing let your requests be made 
known unto God." " Whatsoever you ask in my name, the Father will 
do it for you." Such is another of those wondrous means, by which the 
redeeming purpose is carried into effect ; God " sets his heart" on man 
to " magnify him ;" and in order to this he opens to him his throne of 
grace, he listens to the expression of all his wants, he gives him 
access to his own fulness of grace and glory, and " fulfils all his 

(4.) But to bring men to feel their own wants, and to influence them 
by the displays of his " abundant mercy," he sends forth his Gospel, 
accompanied with his quickening Spirit, thus to render it what in the 
mere letter it could not be, " the word of life," and the " Gospel of sal- 
vation." Thus God is ever speaking to man by his word, whether 
written or preached, according to his institution and appointment : and, 
next to the gift of his Son, can we have a greater proof that he hath 
" set his heart" upon us ? It is not enough to satisfy his compassion, 
that the means, the apparatus of our salvation, so to speak, is prepared ; 
we "see him carrying it into effect by a gracious application. He warns, 
that he may deter us from evil ; presses his invitations, that we may be 
" compelled to come in ;" and seeks, that he may save. What an 
illustration of the kindness of God our Saviour is the written and the 
preached Gospel ! It is the voice of God ever calling his creature to 
return to him, assuring him of acceptance, exhibiting the highest bless- 
ings of grace and sanctity, and displaying the " eternal weight of 
glory." What variety of examples have we in that word to instruct in 
abstract truth by a variety of action ! What variety of exquisite . and 
impressive style! What majesty and terror! What gentleness and 
condescension! And the obvious final cause of the whole is, that by 
pardon, adoption, sanctification, and " instruction in righteousness," 
every man may be '• magnified" by being made " a man of God, per- 
fect and thoroughly furnished to every good work." Such, then, is 
man ; and thus has God " set his heart upon him." 

Having shown what man is, according to the Scriptural account, and 
how God hath " magnified" him, we proposed, 

II. To point out the practical improvement which flows from facts 
so established, and so illustrative of the Divine benignity. 

We are taught the folly and voluntary degradation of the greater 
part of the unhappy race of mankind. God hath " set his heart" upon 


them ; but they set not their heart upon God, and add to their sin the 
guilt of the deepest ingratitude. " Ye that forget God," is their sad, 
but accurate description ; for how obviously true is the charge ! His 
works, magnificent and numerous and curious as they are, bring him 
not to mind ; nor their daily mercies received from him ; nor their 
occasional corrections. In the world which God hath made and 
filled with his glory, man is " without God ;" and in the world 
which he hath redeemed and filled with the sound of the glad 
tidings, he is " without Christ." His thoughts are not won by 
the wisdom of the redeeming mystery ; nor his affections by 
its display of love ineffable and boundless. He has, as we have 
seen, the greatest capacities of nature ; capacities, to the improve- 
ment of which no bound can be set ; and he wholly occupies them in 
trifles. The greatest good is set before him, the pardon of sin, the 
favour of God, and the renewal of his nature ; but he has " no heart 
to it ;" and the invitation of his Saviour is disregarded, because his taste 
is vitiated, and he neither " discerns" nor affects " the things of God." 
They open to him the highest pleasures, because they secure the mani- 
festation of the Divine favour to the heart, the presence of the Holy 
Spirit himself as " the Comforter," and access to God in prayer, and 
solemn transporting meditation ; but he prefers vain society, vain shows, 
vain converse, and animal gratifications. Even eternal life, with all its 
nobleness and grandeur of prospect, awakens no desire, and excites to 
no effort. " Lord, what" then " is man, that thou art" still " mindful of 
him, or the son of man, that thou visitest him !" Why art thou not 
wearied with his perverseness, his delays, his insensibility 1 infinite 
forbearance and patience ! Still thou settest thine heart upon him ; 
still thou sayest, " How shall I give thee up ?" Still thine inviting 
voice, " Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord," 
pursues him through all his wanderings from thee. Still thou triest 
every kind and persuasive art, and every monitory correction, to subdue 
his will, and regain his alienated heart ; intent only upon his rescue 
from the danger, which he himself seeks in the madness of his heart, 
and in the error of his ways. We need nothing more to heighten the 
glory of thy grace, and nothing but our own insensibility to mark the 
depth of our own depravity. " To abhor ourselves as in dust and ashes," 
is the first lesson we are taught by these facts ; to return to God with 
weeping and with supplication ; and to be ashamed and confounded 
even " in the day when he is pacified toward us for all that we have 

2. The subject affords an instructive test of our religious pretensions. 

What is religion 1 It is that by which almighty God, in his infinite 
goodness, magnifies man, morally magnifies man, and makes him truly 

(1.) By the noble and elevating knowledge which it imparts. Is 
this the effect with us ? Do we rest in the barren and ill-understood 
generalities of doctrine, looking into the perfect law of liberty, as a man 
beholding his natural face in a glass, and going away, and forgetting 
what manner of person he is ; or do we " continue therein ?" Do we 
" meditate on these things ?" Are we led out by a hallowed curiosity 
to inquire " what is that good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God ;" 
and knowing it, do we often return to feed upon this truth in holy 


musings ? Are these the subjects to which our spirits fly with affec- 
tionate ardour from the little vanities of life ? Do we catch their spirit ? 
Do we take the impress of their sanctity 1 

(2.) True religion makes great by the relation it gives us to God, — • 
the relation of " sons." Is this our character 1 Have we so " believed 
on his name," that we can claim this " power," right, privilege, " to 
become the sons of God V And do we wear in our spirits this abiding 
testimony, that we are " the children of God ?" 

(3.) By the restoration of our nature to the Divine image. Are we 
thus magnified ? Has the image of the earthly passed away, and given 
place to the new, the heavenly impress 1 Look into your hearts : are 
the characters of the new man there visible and distinct ? Look into 
the course and tenor of your life : does the fulness of the renewed 
principle pour its sanctity and odour through your meek and healing 
speech, through your righteous and beneficent actions ? 

(4.) By the new and elevated ends for which it teaches us to live. 
How low are the objects and pursuits of worldly men ! For, gild and 
adorn and hide them as they please : let them give to trifling the air 
of business, and to selfishness the aspect of public good, and regard to 
the social benefit of others ; the whole may be resolved into the Epi- 
curean maxim, " Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die ;" a selfish 
and temporary gratification and interest is the sole epitome. But the 
ends of living proposed in our religion, and which are seriously kept 
in view by every true Christian, are of a kind as ennobling as those 
of worldly men are debasing and destructive ; — the approbation of God ; 
regard to his will as our only rule in all things ; living not for ourselves 
but for others ; and the final acceptance of our persons, in " the day of 
his appearing." By these ends true religion magnifies man ; but have 
they caught our eye, and do they fix our undeviating regards ? 

(5.) It magnifies him, by its singular principles of faith and love. — 
By its faith ; which is not the mere assent of the judgment, but the 
trust of the heart. It is the evidence of unseen things ; that which 
makes visible the invisible God, as Witness, Ruler, Judge, and Saviour, 
"near at hand, and not afar off;" so that we learn to walk with God, 
and to fear nothing but him, and to hope in nothing but in him. It is 
that which unveils too the invisible world, as well as the invisible God, 
and teaches man to try all present things by measures taken from eter- 
nity, and to refer all actions to their fruits and effects. By love ; as 
singular a principle, and as peculiar to Christianity as faith : for it is 
not a philosophic approbation ; it is not admiration of God merely, nor 
esteem for his perfect and holy character ; but it is ardent attachment 
to him as the supreme Excellence : it is an infinite gratitude to him as 
to an infinite Benefactor ; it is delight and joy in him as our Father ; 
it is the principle which leads to intercourse and communion with God 
through the Holy Ghost, and which sensibly unites every soul, made 
vital by regenerating grace, with the vital influence of God. It is not 
necessary to stay to point out what is so obvious, that such principles 
must, wherever they vigorously exist, be the source of great and high 
thoughts, purposes, affections, powers, and enjoyments. But do these 
magnifying principles exist, and operate, and abide in you ? 

These are all points of serious and most important inquiry ; for if 
the goodness of God is expressed in his gracious purpose to magnify 


us by the instrumentality of religion, and we are unexalted and unre- 
newed, his kindness has hitherto been frustrated by our own obstinacy 
and resistance. Art thou, then, who now readest this declaration, 
" that God has magnified man, and set his heart upon him," in the midst 
of a religious system where all is magnificence of purpose, mean and 
groveling still ? Is thy spirit dark amidst this splendour ? dead, though 
often the voice of the Son of God has invited thee to live ? in bondage, 
when thou mightest walk in liberty from sin? a slave, when thou art 
called to be a son ? earthly in thine affections, when the spiritual 
blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus are arranged and displayed 
to excite desire and effort ? What " part or lot hast thou in this matter ?" 
Boast not of the truth of the Gospel; for, the light by -which thou 
walkest not, only discovers the more clearly that thou art "ignorant 
and out of the way ;" a base worldling with a Christian name ; a 
miserable self deceiver, taking words for things, and saying unto Christ, 
"Lord, Lord," without one operative, principle of abiding faith, love, 
and obedience. Take away the veil of thy religious profession, and 
see and feel that, thou art poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked; 
and, withal, that thou hast been so besotted by the deceitfulness of the 
world, the flesh, and the devil, as to have said to this moment, " I am 
rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing." Yet if thou 
awakest fully to thy danger, despair not. Upon thee, even thee, false 
as well as sinful as thou hast been, — false to thyself, false to the Church, 
false to Christ, — God hath " set his heart." He remembereth that 
thou ai-t man, an immortal man, one whose sins were laid upon Him 
who was " delivered for thy offences, and raised again for thy justifica- 
tion ;" and he wills not that thou shouldest perish. His hand is upon 
thee for mercy, and not for judgment : suffer him to raise thee, to " set 
thee on high," to put thee among the princes of his people, to make 
thee great in his salvation. Hear his voice with thy inmost soul, call- 
ing thee to " glory, honour, and immortality ;" ' ; to-day" hear it, and 
" harden not thy heart." 

3. We are taught by our subject to form a proper estimate of our 
fellow men, and of our obligations to promote their spiritual and eternal 

Our text asks, " What is man ?" And if the answer required wore 
the actual moral condition of mankind, how sad a reply must be given ! 
What are the majority of professing Christian men ? They have a 
" form of godliness," but deny its power, or live in utter disregard of it. 
" This is their condemnation," their peculiar and aggravated condemna- 
tion, " that light is come into the world ; but they love darkness rather 
than light, because their deeds are evil." What are Jewish men? 
" Blindness has happened unto Israel ;" the veil is upon their hearts ; 
they search the Scriptures, but their prejudices have taken away "the 
key of knowledge," and they find not Him of whom the law and the 
prophets are full. They are uncovenanted, " desolate, and forsaken." 
What are Mohammedan men, of whom many millions are found in the 
earth ? Believers in an impostor, and imbruted by a religion which 
makes sensuality its noblest reward, and its heaven a brothel. What 
are the countless multitudes of pagan men ? " A deceived heart hath 
turned them asid? ; they feed on ashes ; nor is their understanding m 
them to deliver their soul, or to say, Is there not a lie in my right 


hand ?" They are " without God, without Christ, without hope," with- 
out morals, and, as far as human observation has gone, in the most 
thickly peopled parts of those wretched regions where " Satan has his 
seat," " there is none righteous, no, not one !" How fearful and heart- 
rending an answer is this to give to such a question ! 

But if, when .we ask, " What is man ?" the answer required should 
respect the capacity of man, under the influence of the grace of God, 
to rise from this state of wretchedness and pollution, it has been already 
given ; and there is not one among these deluded millions, whether 
they dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth, or ?<trround us in our 
daily intercourse with society ; M'hether they are dark by being plunged 
in surrounding darkness, or dark by a wilful exclusion of surrounding 
light ; but may be brought to the knowledge and love of God our 
Saviour. The conscience which guilt darkens and disturbs may be 
sprinkled by the blood of Jesus ; the heart which swells and rankles 
with every evil passion, may become all purity, tenderness, and love ; 
and the body, the temple of the Holy Ghost. Those who have no hope 
may fly for refuge to the hope set before them ; and they who wander 
in innumerable paths of destructive error, like sheep going astray, may 
return "to the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls," 

Here then, on one hand, is a being of infinite capacity and value, in 
an actual condition of depravity and danger ; and, on the other, the 
possibility of his being raised into a holy and felicitous condition ; and 
precisely as these two views of the case of mail affect us, will be our 
conduct. If we rightly judge, and rightly feel, one of these views will 
excite our pity, the other will inspire a generous hope ; and pity and 
hope, as they are both active and influential principles, must, if they 
are really excited, awaken us to the magnitude of the work of human 
salvation, and call forth in this great cause an unwearied effort. These 
considerations unfold the spring of the activity and devotion of the first 
ministers of Christ, and of the first Churches, who so readily co-operated 
with them. " The love of Christ constrains us, because we thus judge, 
that if one died for all, then were all dead !" They argued the danger 
of man from the means taken to save him ; and they knew that the 
means had not failed of their effect, but that they who were " dead" 
might " live," because Christ had " died" for this very purpose. They 
explain the reason for which true Christians, in all ages, have been 
animated with restless desires and anxieties to benefit mankind, and 
why the philosophers of this world have been, and still are, so cold to 
human welfare. " What is man" in their systems, that he should 
awaken a care, or demand an effort or a sacrifice 1 He is a worm of 
the earth, an insect of larger growth ; let him perish, — a moth is crushed, 
and the system goes on. But the sentiments in the text awaken other 
feelings. That God has " set his heart" on man, is the most powerful 
reason why we should set our hearts upon him ; and because he hath 
so loved us, how forcibly must we feel it, that we ought to love one 
another ! For " what is man" in the Christian system 1 Not a being 
to be neglected. All that respects him is awfully great ; and renders 
him a prize worth the most arduous contest. He is the image of God 
in ruins ; but still accountable for .his actions. He must be judged ; he 
may perish, and without help will perish ; and what is perishing, when 
a deathless nature is the subject ! These are the thoughts which unlock 


the affections, and give to zeal its energy. " Knowing the terrors of 
the Lord, we persuade men." And we know, too, " the grace of our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; that he who was rich," for the sake of all the blind 
and infatuated sinful men about us, and in our world, " became poor, 
that they through his poverty might be made rich ;" that he is " rich to 
all that call upon him," has no " respect of persons," and by us has 
commanded his truth to be dispersed, and his grace to be distributed. 
Let these views more deeply influence us, that we may never loiter in 
the work assigned to each of us, if we are truly recovered to God our- 
selves, — that of " strengthening our brethren." On them who are perish- 
ing for lack of knowledge, never can we too earnestly, and affection- 
ately, and yearningly " set our hearts." If you convert a sinner from 
the error of his ways, you " save a soul from death ;" and can a more 
powerful motive be urged ? You place another child in the family of 
God ; you open a mind to knowledge ever enlarging, and to feelings 
which shall yield a felicity more noble and sanctifying throughout 
eternity. You advance the rapture of angels ; for " there is joy in 
heaven over one sinner that repenteth." You heighten the joy of your 
Lord himself ; for " he sees of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied." 
Happy will it be when this true estimate of man shall be taken by the 
universal Church of Christ. Its torpor will be shaken off, its disputes 
and bickerings silenced, and every thought be absorbed, and every 
energy put forth, in the solemn work of saving souls from death. 
thou who hast set thine heart upon man, inspire us with some larger 
portion of thine own boundless and tender charity ! 

4. Lastly, we see_in our subject a reason for the exercise of a con- 
stant and cheerful trust in God. 

After such demonstrations of his love to us, our limited expectations 
from his mercy, and our frequent doubts, may justly be reproved. He 
delighted to make us what we are, and he hasted to rescue us when 
sin had made the very greatness and glory of our nature our curse and 
bane ; and having given us his Son, will he not " with him also freely 
give us all things 1" Let us then firmly trust in the Lord. His eyes 
" run to and fro in the earth, that he may show himself strong in behalf 
of them that fear him." His ears are open to our prayers ; and his 
promises of supply are ample as our wants. His proper work, as " the 
Captain of our salvation," is, to bring us as a part of his many sons to 
glory. If he had not been more concerned for us than we for ourselves, 
we had never known his quickening influence, nor his saving power ; 
and " if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the 
death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by 
his life." This is our hope and joy, — the life of Jesus. He ever 
liveth to make intercession for us ; and because he lives, we shall live 
also. He has made it his very office to save us ; he sets his heart 
upon us through every stage of our journey ; and never so intensely as 
in the hour of danger and difficulty. Lift up then the hands which 
hang down, and confirm the feeble knees. The Divine dispensations 
of creation, providence, and grace unite to magnify us : and the glorious, 
purpose shall not close at death ; it shall go on till mortality is swal- 
lowed up of life, and shall be completed only when eternity has ful- 
filled its round, and man can receive, and infinite fulness can bestow, 
no more. 


Sermon V. — The Religious Instruction of the Slaves in the West 
India Colonies Advocated and Defended. 

Preached before the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, in the new Chapel, 
City.Road, London, April 28, 1824. 

" Honour all men," 1 Peter ii, 17. 

We call Christianity, emphatically, a revelation. It is so. It is a 
revelation of God, of a Redeemer, and of a future life. But with 
scarcely less emphasis may it be entitled a revelation of man. At its 
first promulgation, it placed him under aspects new, at least, to the 
world of Gentiles ; and, to this moment, it continues to stamp upon him 
this signature of his value in the sight of God, that all the truths which 
the revelations of the inspired Scriptures contain were made for his 
sake ; that for him the veil has been withdrawn from the attributes of 
God ; for him the Redeemer left " the bosom of the Father ;" and for 
him the manifestations of immortality now bound the vanities of the 
present life with the stupendous realities of another. 

Its discovery of the solemn and consolatory relations in which man 
stands to God is accompanied also by a most interesting declaration of 
the relation in which man stands to his fellows. When two passages 
were recorded in our Scriptures by the inspiration of their Author, views 
on this subject as novel as they were tender and benevolent were 
opened on the world. One affirms that God " hath made of one blood 
all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth ;" that they 
are of one family, of one origin, of one common nature : the other, that 
our Saviour became incarnate, " that he, by the grace of God, should 
taste death for every man." Behold the foundation of the fraternity of 
our race, however coloured and however scattered. Essential distinc- 
tions of inferiority and superiority had been, in almost every part of 
the Gentile world, adopted as the palliation, or the justification, of the 
wrongs inflicted by man on man ; but against this notion Christianity, 
from its first promulgation, has lifted up its voice. God hath made the 
varied tribes of men " of one blood." Dost thou wrong a human being ? 
He is thy brother. Art thou his murderer by war, private malice, or a 
wearing and exhausting oppression 1 " The voice of thy brother's blood 
crieth to God from the ground." Dost thou, because of some accidental 
circumstances of rank, opulence, and power on thy part, treat him with 
scorn and contempt ? he is thy " brother for whom Christ died ;" the 
incarnate Redeemer assumed his nature as well as thine ; he came into 
the world to seek and to save him as well as thee ; and it was in 
reference to him also that he went through the scenes of the' garden 
and the cross. There is not, then, a man on earth who has not a 
Father in heaven, and to whom Christ is not an Advocate and Patron : 
nay, more, because of the assumption of our common humanity, to whom 
he is not a Brother. 

Thus " the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man ap- 
peared." But here brutal ignorance and affected philosophy agree to 
ask the question, " Who are men V intimating, that, if the benevolent 


principles just laid clown are not to be disputed, the application of them 
must be narrowed ; and that, as to various tribes which bear the human 
form, (several of the tribes, for instance, to which the charity of mis- 
sionary societies is extended,) it is doubted whether they have this 
claim to brotherhood, because it is doubted whether they have any 
title to humanity. A civilized savage, armed with the power which an 
improved condition of society gives him, invades a distant country, and 
destroys or makes captive its inhabitants ; and then, pointing to their 
contrary colour and different features, finds his justification in denying 
them to be men. A petty philosophy follows in the train, and confirms 
the hesitating deductions of ignorance. Its theory- is, that the grada- 
tions of animated nature are gentle, and almost imperceptible ; and, not 
content that the ape and baboon should fill up the chasm which 
exists between the quadruped and man, an intermediate link must be 
invented ; and thus the coloured skin and the peculiar visage of the 
negro and the Hottentot are placed against their title to humanity, and 
millions, by the dreams of a theory, have been struck out of a family 
of God, the covenant of grace, and that fraternity which the Scriptures 
have extended to the whole race of Adam. 

But our Scriptures have not left us to determine the title of any tribe 
to the full honours of humanity by accidental circumstances. To man 
has been given the law, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart;" and to be capable of loving God, is the infallible criterion 
of our peculiar nature. So extensively has this principle been applied 
by missionary societies, that the philosophy in question is now refuted 
more by facts than reasoning. They have determined whether the 
races cast out and spumed by this theory are our brethren, and, as 
such, entitled to our fraternal • yearnings ; they have determined who 
are men, by determining who are capable of that universal and exclusive 
law to man, — the love of God. The negro, through all his shades j 
the Hottentot, through all his varieties ; the Indians of America, and the 
natives of New-Holland, have all, in our own days, been inspired with 
the love of God through the-.Gospel ; and again we see, that "in Christ 
Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor 
free, but that Christ is all in all." Thus have missionary operations not 
only enlarged the sphere of benevolence, but extended the vision of 
a hoodwinked philosophy. 

But what means the text, " Honour all men ?" That it is to be taken 
in its most extensive range of application, is clear from what follows, — 
"Love the brotherhood." All men are to be honoured ; but Christians, 
who form but a part of mankind, are to be loved with that special re- 
gard which is enjoined in the special command of Christ to his disci- 
ples, " Love one another." The whole, race is first mentioned, then a 
part of the whole ; and thus, whatever the precept may imply, it com- 
prehends, in its obligation and in its object,, men of every nation, and 
kindred, and tongue, and people. 

What, then, is the " honour" which we are enjoined to pay to " all 
men ?" Should we, with some, confine it to external courtesies and signs 
of respect ; yet even this tends to impress us with some great pecu- 
liarity in man ; for who treats an inferior animal with courtesy 1 Why, 
then, this distinction between the most degraded man and the most 
pampered brute, but that between them " a great gulf is fixed," and that 


there is no approximation at all in the two natures 1 Thus, the very 
precept in the text, if interpreted to mean nothing more than external 
salutation and respect, rends asunder the fleshy veil in which all that 
is eminently man is enveloped, and exhibits to us, as the basis of the 
courtesies we are bound to render to " all men," without distinction, a 
being of superior capacity and delicate feeling ; a nature which, in 
common with our own, has its sense of degradation and of honour ; 
which sympathizes with us in our joys and sorrows, in the cheering 
influence of kindness, and the keen resentment of neglect and con- 
tempt. But this would be a very imperfect representation of the im- 
port of the text. To " honour," as the word signifies, is to estimate 
the value of any thing, and to proportion our regards to the ascertained 
value. Apply this rule to man. Estimate his value by his Creator's 
love, and by his Redeemer's sufferings ; by his own capacity of reli- 
gion, of morals, of intellectual advancement, of pleasure, of pain ; by 
his relation to a life and to a death to come ; and you will then feel, 
that to honour man is to respect him under these views and relations ; 
to be anxious for his welfare ; to contemplate him, not onlv with bene- 
volence, but even with awe and fear, lest a prize so glorious should be 
lost, lest a being so capable should be wretched for ever. 

These remarks have an intimate connection with the subject which 
I have been requested to bring before you in this discourse. It is not 
for me to range over the wide field of the labours of this society, and 
to lead you into the varied scenes of human error and diversified super- 
stition on the one hand, or of missionary triumph on the other. It is 
assigned to me to fix your attention upon one branch only of the socie- 
ty's exertions, — the missions to the negroes of the West Indies ; but, 
narrow as is the field, and uniform as is its aspect ; though in many 
respects, this part of your work has become familiar to you, and wants 
that interest which novelty and incident give to other departments of 
exertion ; I confess that I regret nothing in the task but my own insuf 
ficiency to plead its principles, to display its urgency, and to exhibit 
its success. But for that I should feel the greatest pleasure in offer- 
ing you my feeble testimony in behalf of missions so signalized and 
encouraged by the blessing of God, and so worthy of your prayers, 
exertions, and liberalities. 

With reference to your missions to the negroes of our West India 
colonies, I direct your attention, 

I. To the objects of your Christian sympathy and care; 

II. To their civil condition ; 

III. To the effects of past exertions ; 

IV. To circumstances which, may encourage your zeal and per- 

I. To the objects of your sympathy and care; — they are African 

1. In touching this subject, allow me one principle, and I desire no 
more, in behalf of this class of our fellow men. Allow me, that, if, 
among the various races of human kind, one is to be found which has 
been treated with greater harshness by the rest, from its possessing 
in a less degree the means of resistance ; one whose history is drawn 
with a deeper pencilling of injury and wretchedness ; that race, where- 
ever found, is entitled to the largest share of the compassion of the 

Vol. I. 5 


Christian Church, and especially of those Christian nations which, in 
a period of past darkness and crime, have had the greatest share m 
inflicting this injustice ; and you concede to me the ground of a strong 
appeal in its favour. That appeal I make for the negro race, the most 
unfortunate of the family of man. Abundantly has it multiplied ; but 
only to furnish victims to the fraud and avarice of other nations. From 
age to age its existence may be traced upon its own sunburnt conti- 
nent ; but ages, which have produced revolutions in favour of other 
countries, have left Africa still the common plunder of every invader 
who has had hardihood enough to obdurate his heart against humanity, 
to drag his lengthened lines of enchained captives through the desert, 
or to suffocate them in the holds of vessels destined to carry them away 
into hopeless, foreign, and interminable captivity. It has been calcu- 
lated, that Africa has been annually robbed of one hundred and fifty 
thousand of her children. Multiply this number by the ages through 
which the injury has been protracted, and the amount appals and rends 
the heart. What an accumulation of misery and wrong ! Which of 
the sands of her deserts has not been steeped in tears, wrung out by 
the pang of separation from kindred and country ? What wind has 
passed over her plains without catching up the sighs of bleeding or 
broken hearts 1 And in what part of the world have not her children 
been wasted by labours, and degraded by oppressions ? 

2. To oppression has been added insult. They have been denied 
to be men, or deemed incorrigibly, because physically, embruted and 
immoral. The former I shall not stay to answer. Your missionaries 
have determined that ; they have dived into that mine from which, we 
were often told, no valuable ore or precious stone could be extracted ; 
and they have brought up the gem of an immortal spirit, flashing with 
the light of intellect, and glowing with the hues of Christian graces. 
But if it be somewhat too late to chase the negro out of the current of 
our common blood, and to sever his relation to Adam and to God ; yet 
may you all see, in publications written, I say not within a century 
past, but within twelve months of the hour in which you meet to pro- 
mote the intellectual and moral improvement of this, injured race, that, 
at least, the negro is so degenerate a variety of the human species, as 
to defy all cultivation of mind, and all correction of morals. 

Two descriptions of men come to this conclusion. The first is com- 
posed of those who have had to contend with the passions and vices 
of the negro in his purely pagan state, and have applied no other in- 
strument to elicit the virtues they have demanded, than the stimulus 
of the whip, and the stern voice of authority. Who can wonder that 
they have failed ? They have expected " to reap where they have not 
sown," and " to gather where they have not strewed ;" they have re- 
quired moral ends without the application of moral means ; and their 
failure, therefore, leaves the question of the capacity of the negro un- 
touched, and proves nothing but their own folly. In the second class 
are our minute philosophers, who take the gauge of intellectual capa- 
city from the disposition of the bones of the head, and link morality 
with the contour of the countenance ; men who measure mind by the 
rule and compasses ; and estimate capacity for knowledge and salva- 
tion by a scale of inches, and the acuteness of angles. 

And yef, will it be believed, that this contemned race can, as to in- 


tellect and genius, exhibit a brighter ancestry than our own ? that they 
are the offshoots — wild and untrained, it is true, but still the offshoots — 
of a stem which was once proudly luxuriant in the fruits of learning 
and taste ; while that from which the Goths, their calumniators, have 
sprung, remained hard, and knotted, and barren 1 For is Africa with- 
out her heraldry of science and of fame 1 The only probable account 
which can be given of the negro tribes is, that, as Africa was peopled, 
through Egypt, by three of the descendants of Ham, they are the off- 
spring of Cush, Misraim, and Put. They found Egypt a morass, and 
converted it into the most fertile country of the world ; they reared its 
pyramids, invented its hieroglyphics, gave letters to Greece and Rome, 
and, through them, to us. The everlasting architecture of Africa still 
exists, the wonder of the world, though in ruins. Her mighty king- 
doms have yet their record in history. She has poured forth her 
heroes on the field, given bishops to the Church, and martyrs to the 
fires ; and, for negro physiognomy, as though that should shut out the 
light of intellect, go to your national museum ; contemplate the features 
of the colossal head of Memnon, and the statues of the divinities on 
which the ancient Africans impressed their own forms, and there see, 
in close resemblance to the negro feature, the mould of those counte- 
nances which once beheld, as the creations of their own immortal 
genius, the noblest and most stupendous monuments of human skill, 
and taste, and grandeur. In the imperishable porphyry and granite is 
the unfounded and pitiful slander publicly, and before all the world, re- 
futed. There we see the negro under cultivation. If he now presents 
a different aspect, cultivation is wanting. That solves the whole case , 
for, even now, when education has been expended upon the pure and 
undoubted negro, it has never been bestowed in vain. Modern times 
have witnessed, in the persons of African negroes, generals, physicians, 
philosophers, linguists, poets, mathematicians, and merchants, all emi- 
nent in their attainments, energetic in enterprise, and honourable in 
character ; and even the mission schools in the West Indies exhibit a 
quickness of intellect, and a thirst for learning, to which the. schools 
of this country do not always afford a parallel. 

3. But the negro has been doomed to another degradation. It was 
not enough that he should be stultified in intellect, and brutalized be- 
yond correction in morals ; he has been represented as under a Divine 
anathema, a part of an accursed and devoted race ; and thus he has not 
only been denied the honours of a human intellect, but excluded even 
from the compassions of God. 

To this race has been applied the prophetic malediction of Noah, 
" Cursed be Canaan ; a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren," 
the descendants of Shem and Japheth ; and because they have been 
supposed to be under the ban of the Almighty, it has been concluded, 
that every kind of injury might, with impunity, be inflicted upon them 
by his creatures. Nothing is more repulsive than to see men resorting 
to the word of God for an excuse or a palliative for the injuries which 
they are incited to inflict on others by their own pride and avarice ; 
going up profanely to the very judgment seat of an equal God, to plead 
his sanction for their injustice ; establishing an alliance between their 
own passions and his perfections ; and attempting to convert the foun- 
tain of his mercy into " the waters of bitterness." But the case they 


adduce will not serve them. The malediction of Noah (if we even 
allow it to be one, and not a simple prediction) fell not upon the negro 
races ; it fell chiefly on Asia, and only to a very limited extent upon 
Africa ; it fell, as the terms of the prophecy explicitly declare, upon 
Canaan ; that is, in Scripture style, upon his descendants, the Canaan- 
ites, who were destroyed, or made subjects by the Israelites ; and per- 
haps upon the Carthaginians, who were subverted by the Romans. — 
Here was its rage and its limit ; the curse never expanded so as to 
encompass a single negro tribe ; and, Africa, with all thy just com- 
plaints against the practice of Christian states, thou hast none against 
the doctrines of the Christian's Bible ! That is not a book, as some 
have interpreted it, written, as to thee, " within and without," in 
" lamentation, and mourning, and wo ;" it registers against thee no 
curse ; but, on the contrary, exhibits to thee its fulness of blessings ; 
establishes thy right to its covenant of mercy, in common with all 
mankind ; and crowds into the joyous prospect which it opens into the 
future, the spectacle of all thy various tribes " stretching out their 
hands unto God," acknowledging him, and receiving his blessing ! 

But, if the prediction of Noah were an anathema, and if that male 
diction were directed against the negro races ; yet, let it be remarked, 
it belongs not to the Gospel age. Here the anathemas of former dis- 
pensations are arrested and repealed ; for no nation can remain ac- 
cursed under the full establishment of the dominion of Christ, since 
" all the families of the earth" are to be " blessed in him." The dele- 
terious stream which withers the verdure of its banks, and spreads 
sterility through the soils it touches in its course, is at length absorbed 
and purified in the ocean, ascends from thence in cooling vapours, and 
comes down upon the earth in fruitful showers. Thus Christianity 
turns all curses into benedictions. Its office is to bless, and to bless 
all nations ; it is light after darkness, and quiet after agitation. The 
restoring and the healing character is that in which all the prophets 
array our Saviour ; and, if partiality is ascribed to him at all, it is par- 
tiality in favour of the most despised, and friendless, and wretched of 
our kind. The scythe has gone before, and, in all ages, has swept 
down the fairest vegetation, and left it to wither, or to be trodden under 
foot ; but " He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, like 
the showers that water the earth ;" " all nations shall be blessed in 
him," and " all people," in grateful return, " shall call him blessed." — 
Well may we exclaim, with the psalmist, who recorded these grateful 
revelations, " Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who only doeth" 
these " wondrous things, and blessed be his glorious name for ever, 
and let the whole earth be filled with his glorv." 

From these observations on the negro race, I call your attention, 

II. To the civil condition of that portion of them which, in our West 
India colonies, claim our Christian care. They are in a state of 
bondage ; and in number amount to about eight hundred thousand souls. 

I approach the subject of West India slavery, not, as some might 
suppose, with fearful steps ; for I know that no danger can arise from 
the sound and explicit views which you entertain on this subject. I 
know the objects which you propose, and the clear and Christian course 
which your missionaries abroad have undeviatingly pursued for now 
near forty years ; during which they have been pursuing their important 


and benevolent labours in those colonies. I advert to it only as it is 
connected with missions ; and under this relation the system of our 
colonial bondage may be regarded in four views. 

1. In the first place, it has illustrated the patient and submissive 
character of the negroes ; and, on this account, has entitled them to 
our good will, and given them a claim upon our exertions for their im- 
provement and welfare. 

Let us do the negro justice. He has been our servant, and he has 
not been a troublesome and unruly one. There is something affecting 
in that simplicity of the African which, on his native continent, has 
invited rather than resisted aggression. With a spirit more buoyant, 
suspicious, and resentful, the negro tribes would not have been for 
ages an easy prey to every plunderer and hunter of men. Their shores 
would have bristled with spears, and their arrows have darkened the 
heavens ; nor would the experiment of man stealing have been twice 
repeated. The same simplicity and tameness of character distin- 
guishes the negroes in their state of bondage. It has not required a 
violent hand to keep them down ; their story is not that of surly sub- 
mission, interrupted by frequent and convulsive efforts to break their 
chain ; and the history of slavery no where, and in no age, presents an 
example of so much quiet, under the same or similar circumstances, 
where the bondage has been so absolute, and the proportion of the 
dominant part of society has been so small, or so insulated from the 
body of the empire. But what do we infer from this ? Does it impress 
us with no respect for this patient race of enslaved men ? Does it not 
lay us under additional obligations to seek their benefit ? Answers it 
not a thousand ridiculous fears, as to the effect of imparting to them 
the light of Christian instruction ? If the Gospel taught compassion 
and mercy to the Scythian of ancient times, and the Goth of the middle 
ages ; and if it is now stealing with an emollient influence over the 
fierce barbarism of the American Indian and the New Zealander; shall 
the news of your sympathy, the voice of your missionaries publishing 
peace, and the implanted meekness of your Gospel, rouse the pacific 
negro into headlong revenge and fury, and spread bloodshed and 
violence over the fields he has tilled, and through the habitations of 
his employers 1 If we apply a power so calming to the boisterous sea, 
will it lash into wild commotion the lake slumbering within its hills ? 
Were the negroes of an opposite character ; were the experiment to 
be made on men of harder nerve and sterner mould, you would make it 
without fear ; but when the negro race is in question, you may well smile 
at all these predictions of mischief and misery. You have replied to 
all these alarms by the facts which your missions have exhibited. — 
For near forty years you have had negro societies and congregations 
in the West Indies ; and not an instance has occurred in which one 
of them has been found in rebellion, or detected in conspiracy. You 
found docility, and you implanted principle ; you found patience, and 
you exalted it even into charity. 

2. This condition of servitude has rendered our neglect, in not in- 
structing the negro population of the colonies in the principles of reli- 
gion, the more criminal, because it has taken away the ground of every 
excuse which may be made for the omission of so obvious a duty. 

As a nation, we are guilty of permitting so large a portion of our 


fellow subjects, of our very servants, to remain under the darkening 
ana corrupting influence of paganism ; nor can it be said, that we have 
not been, till recently, reminded of our duty, or not strongly urged to 
it. A public call was made upon the nation, near one hundred and 
fifty years ago, in a very able and powerful work, published by the 
Rev. Morgan Godwyn, a clergyman of Barbadoes, and entitled, " The 
Negro's and Indian's Advocate, suing for their admission into the 
Church."* This book, printed in London in the year 1680, and dedi- 
cated to the then archbishop of Canterbury, contains an earnest and 
argumentative appeal to Christian principles and to good policy on this 
important subject ; but the call was made in vain, and the great mass 
of the negro population were suffered, to the shame of Christianity and 
Protestantism, to remain unpitied as to their best interests, and still 
excluded from the salvation of the Gospel. 

I have said, " to the shame of Christianity and Protestantism ;" for 
in our hands, and with respect to the negro slaves, both have been tar- 
nished ; and, if we have a due sense of the honour in which we ought 
to maintain both, even that may become a powerful motive to stimulate 
us to future efforts commensurate with the case, and to remove a re- 
proach which time has only accumulated. For it is impossible to turn 
to those colonies without blushing for the profession we have made of 
a religion of zeal and charity. At different times, and in different 
places, paganism and Christianity have been seen in contact with each 
other ; but under circumstances which cheer the spirit, and elevate our 
confidence in the benevolent energy of our religion. The first ages of 
the Church present scenes of this kind. Christianity was constantly 
extending itself into the darkness around it ; wherever it was intro- 
duced, it commenced its assaults on paganism ; and, though spurned 
and persecuted, though frowned upon by power, and resisted by mobs 
and magistrates, it turned not away from the contest, until it had hurled 
down one of the proudest forms of established paganism, and, in the 
triumph of exulting charity, waved its banner over the mighty ruin. — 
Through ages of relentless persecution, it remained true to its own 
uncompromising and aggressive principle, till " out of weakness, it 
was made strong," and by patient faith, and the omnipotence of love, it 
had put to flight " the armies of the alien." At a lower period we see 
the activity of the same principles and affections, though under other 
circumstances. The paganism of barbarous nations had launched itself 
into Christian lands, and wielded there the supreme dominion ; but the 
spirit of Christianity, though decayed, was not extinct ; zeal for the 
conversion of men had not become an empty name ; it seized upon the 
conquering Goth, and, struggling with a ruder form of superstition than 
that which pagan Rome had presented, at length subdued it to itself. 
The irruption of these nations from the north was like a snow storm 
from the same rude quarter, driven wide and distant upon fields warmed 
by milder skies, and still reverberating the heat of but recently-obscured 
suns ; and, wide as the drift was spread, it no sooner touched the soil, 

* The title in full is, " The Negro's and Indian's Advocate, suing for their 
admission into the Church ; or, a Persuasive to the Instructing and Baptizing 
of the Negroes and Indians in our Plantations ; showing, that, as the compliance 
therewith can prejudice no man's just interest, so the wilful neglecting and op- 
posing of it is no less than a manifest apostasy from the Christian Faith." 


than it began to yield to its influence ; and the rugged wintry v/aste 
was speedily changed into a scene of refreshed verdure and renovated 

If we turn to our Asiatic empire, paganism and Christianity are there 
also in contact ; but the scene is instructive and cheering. There the 
power is Christian ; but it resorts not to carnal weapons for the pro- 
pagation of the faith ; the idolater is not coerced, and toleration of the 
evils which paganism inflicts upon society is carried, at least, to its 
extreme limits. But Christianity is not inactive. Under its patronage 
the manly science of Christian nations dawns upon the intellect of 
millions; the Scriptures pour their streams of sacred truth through the 
varied dialects of an immense population; and the labours of the 
Christian missionary find a full protection and a cheering patronage in 
all the gradations of authority. 

But when we look at Christianity, as planted in the midst of the 
paganism of the West Indies, again I say, we may blush for its dis- 
honoured name and its withered honours, — honours never so tarnished 
in any hands as our own, and those of a few other Protestant colonial 
powers. Look at Christianity, and look at paganism, as they co-exist 
in the West Indies : are they (with a few exceptions, modern in date 
and limited in extent) in conflict ? Has paganism any fears of attack ? 
Has Christianity any ardour of conquest ? Age after age passed away, 
and they still reposed together in dull and slumbering harmony. The 
form of Christianity was there ; but it was destitute of life ; the heart 
was without feeling, and the hand without activity. The pagan felt 
that he had no share in the care and compassion of the Christian ; and 
the Christian resigned the pagan to his ignorance and spiritual dangers : 
as a matter of course, he was to remain untaught, unpitied, and unsaved. 
There was Christianity, with her whole apparatus of instruction and 
salvation, and hope and joy, but not for the negro ; her temples rose, 
but to him they were not the house of prayer ; the holy fount of bap- 
tism was there, but not that he might " wash away his sins, calling upon 
the name of the Lord ;" the broken sacramental bread was there, but 
not that he might eat and live for ever ; the ministers of Christ were 
there, but the negroes were considered " no part of their charge," nor, 
from their limited number, could they be to any great extent. What 
excuse, then, is there, what palliation, for ages of criminal neglect by 
the nation at large? for this chill and heartless Christianity? If any 
be set up, that " the negro of our colonies is a slave" is the answer to 
it. He was wholly in our power ; no obstacles to the kind and perse- 
vering application of the means and ordinances of instruction existed, 
nor could exist, in such a state of society. What, as a national act, is 
now proposed to be done for the extension of Christian instruction, 
might have been done a century and a half ago ; the accumulation of 
pagan ignorance which now exists might have been prevented ; and 
African ignorance and superstition been wholly banished from the 
colonies. That pious individuals and missionary societies have waked, 
while others slept, is their praise ; that you have taken so large a share, 
in late years, in this long unthought-of duty, is to your honour ; but the 
debt we still, as a country, owe to the very credit of our religion, and 
the deep arrears of obligation and Christian kindness to ihe untaught 
slaves which are yet undischarged, you will, I trust, feel to be com- 


manding motives to a quickened zeal, and to undiscouraged perse- 

3. The third consideration is, that, limited as the application of the 
means of Christian instruction by missions to the negroes has been, 
they have triumphed over all the obstacles presented to moral improve- 
ment by a state of bondage, and have afforded, by that circumstance, 
the most obvious evidence of their beneficial tendency. 

To my mind, there is nothing in the history of the Church which so 
strikingly exhibits the power of our religion as its triumphs over the 
moral evils so uniformly and necessarily inherent in a system of 
slavery. That is a state in which no class of society, the dominant or 
the subject, is not vitiated, — vitiated in temper, in principle, in conduct. 
All history is in proof of this ; and, if that failed, language, as to the 
enslaved class, at least, would supply the testimony. We call that 
man a villain who unites baseness and treachery with his crimes, and 
complicates vice with deceit and cunning ; but the villain was our 
ancient slave ; and villany, in its original acceptation, is slavery. We 
find the same association in other languages, ancient and modern ; all 
stamping it as the fact of experience, that slavery is essentially demo- 
ralizing,' and that it compounds into the character all the faithlessness 
and feculence of moral turpitude. There is a class of mere human 
virtues, which may exist independently of the direct influence of reli- 
gion and principled morality. Such are honour, honesty, generosity, 
patriotism, and others, which, though but conventional, and the shadows 
and images of real virtue, are corrective in their influence upon society, 
and give it a higher tone and a purer character ; but even these cannot, 
except by very accidental circumstances, vegetate in this soil, nor 
flourish in the fog and impurities of this stifling atmosphere ; they 
require a purer air, the brisk wafting of the nobler passions, the excite- 
ment of hope, the warmth of charity, and the mountain breeze of 

Yet, what is impossible to man is possible to God. Where virtues 
of human offshoot and of earthly seed cannot strike, there the Spirit of 
God, by his word, can mould the soul of man into a productive soil, 
and make the desert of a slave's heart rich with the verdure of, at least, 
the passive and the humbler graces. Christianity effected this among 
the slaves of the ancient world. It gave cheerfulness to submission, 
and patience to wrong; it created charity, where gratitude could have 
no place ; shut the lip of reproach, and silenced murmuring ; taught 
" servants" (slaves) to serve not with " eye service," but on the nobler 
principle of " doing it to the Lord." And yet I do not think that the 
power of Christianity was exhibited among those ancient slaves in 
aspect so marked and impressive as in producing the same effects 
among those of our own colonies. The character of that ancient 
bondage was different. In some respects, indeed, it was more cruel ; 
but in none so galling to the feelings. The ancient slave was not cut 
off so absolutely from intellectual improvement ; he was not so insulated 
from the bustle and stirring movements of a great empire ; he was not 
so put out of the range of the domestic charities ; above all, he differed 
not usually in country and in colour from his masters, or that colour 
was not to him the badge of physical shame and degradation. The 
abomination of caste, founded on the hue of the skin, did not exist as 


in modern negro slavery, with its associations of disgust, on the one 
hand, and of deep mortification, humbled feeling, and often deep resent- 
ment, on the other. But religion in our own colonies has triumphed 
even over these. Its light has penetrated, so to speak, the solid dark- 
ness of minds left without instruction ; it has struck the spark of feel- 
ing into hearts unaccustomed to salutary emotions ; it has reconciled 
man to the degradation of colour and feature ; it has produced charity 
toward those who have dealt out to them the most humbling kinds of 
insult ; breathed over passions which, when once awakened, are terrible, 
the calm of resignation ; and taught the spirit, spurned from every other 
resting place, to rest in God, and to wait for his salvation. If these 
have been the triumphs of religion in modern slavery ; if all this was 
achieved at a time when the condition of our slave population did not 
assume that hopeful and improving character which, thank God, it 
does at present ; you can despair of nothing. The field of exertion is 
before you ; its most rigid clods have been broken up and prepared ; 
and it only remains for you to sow, with a hand more liberal, the seeds 
of truth, and peace, and righteousness, to reap, year after year, a full- 
eared and unfailing harvest. 

4. My last view of West India slavery, as connected with missionary 
exertions, is, that the character and manner of its termination altogether 
depend upon the infusion of Christian principles into the minds of the 
slave population. 

In the present circumstances of the world, nothing human can be 
more certain than that slavery must terminate throughout the British 
empire. No thinking and observant man, who looks abroad upon society, 
and notices the current of opinion, both as to its strength and direction, 
can doubt of this ; at least, I have met with no one who doubts it ; and 
if the probability of the case be so strong, nothing can be less wise 
than to refuse to look forward to this approaching and, whenever it 
arrives, this important result. 

In one of two ways only will that state of society be terminated in 
the West Indies, — by the operation of bad principles and passions, or 
by the salutary and controlling influence of Christianity, co-operating 
with lenient government. Let each, for a moment, be considered, that 
you may discern more fully your clear path of benevolent duty. 

Slavery may be terminated by principles bad in themselves, or bad 
as they are connected with inconsiderate and violent passions. Is this 
improbable ? When it is remembered, that the West India slaves 
neighbour . upon states which are breaking off their connection with 
European powers, and emancipating their brethren ; that a large island 
presents to them a picture of a sanguinary and guilty, but successful, 
revolt ; that in this country principles destructive of order, and loyalty, 
and civil duty, are continually issuing from the press, — a press which 
by various means, reaches them ; that even just principles of freedom 
and right are, and always will and ought to be, debated at home with 
warmth and boldness ; we have, on the one hand, a view of the excite- 
ment which is operating upon society in these colonies, and that with 
constantly increasing energy. On the other, let us suppose this excite- 
ment to go on without the communication of religious principles, and 
the introduction of measures of civil amelioration to regulate, control, 
or neutralize it, and that all such attempts, upon a large scale, are 


resisted and discouraged ; then an elastic fluid of tremendous power is 
condensed by every stroke ; and a surly application of that resistance 
to the evil which mere power, without the aid of moral means, can sup- 
ply, will only delay the explosion, to render it more expansive and 
fatal. This is one method by which slavery may be extinguished, — 
one which we all deprecate, and which every good man will exert him- 
self, with his whole might, to prevent. 

The other is the gradual termination of this now increasingly 
anxious state of servitude, by the influence of Christianity, preparing 
the slaves for those measures of wise and benevolent policy which the 
local and the supreme government may adopt for their benefit, and co- 
operating also with them, in all their stages, to render them efficient. 
This is not an end which we formally propose, as the friends and sup- 
porters of missions. Our object is immediate, — to do good by bringing 
men under the practical and saving influence of religion. We form no 
ulterior plans ; we follow the direct course of instant duty to make men 
Christians, whether Indian or negro, bond or free. But it would be a 
folly, on proper occasions and in proper places, not to admit, that the 
Christianity which is so active in our world in the present day is work- 
ing onward to civil ends and to definite improvements in the outward 
condition of men wherever it prevails ; and, consequently, in the West 
Indies. Indeed, it has several times been observed, in official papers 
published by the colonial legislatures, and in the course of the con- 
troversy which has been recently carried on on these subjects, that 
Christianity must destroy modern bondage, as it destroyed the slavery 
existing in ancient Europe ; and as to this silent and peaceful opera- 
tion of its principles, some have judiciously refrained from expressing 
any alarm, and have professed to regard the result even with compla- 
cency. The view they have thus taken of the influence of our Divine 
religion upon society is founded in truth ; for though, in states very 
partially Christianized, slavery may continue, as one of many evils not 
yet fully reached by the remedy ; yet, when the mass of a community 
is leavened with its influence, the subjection of man to man, as a slave, 
must cease. The reason of this is, that our religion, on the principle 
of its own two great social laws, — to love our neighbour as ourselves, 
and to do to others as we would have them do to us, — makes it an 
imperative duty to render every man's condition as felicitous as the 
present mixed state of things, where the rich and the poor must still 
exist, and toil and suffering cannot be excluded, will allow. But the 
discipline which Heaven has imposed on sinful men, rigid as it is in 
many respects, is compatible with the abolition of slavery. This is 
not, as experience in our own and other countries has proved, one of 
those necessary evils which must remain, after all the triumphs of 
religion ; and, therefore, Christianity must abolish slavery throughout 
the world, in the accomplishment of its own plans of benevolence and 
renovation. It is a blot which cannot remain amidst the glories of 
Messiah's reign. It is solely a punitive evil, not a corrective one, and 
is therefore inconsistent with the dominion of mercy ; it implies, in its 
most mitigated form, an injustice, and is therefore contrary to the full 
dominion of righteousness. These are the principles on which we 
assuredly conclude that Christianity, largely and efficiently diffused, 
cannot consist with this state of society. If our neighbour is to be 


loved as ourselves, he cannot be left in a condition which no man on 
earth, however miserable, would choose, — the condition of a slave. If, 
as in the text, all men are to be honoured, no part of them can be left 
in the degradation of being the very property, the goods and chattels, 
of others ; in a state in which, they are things, not men. But, strong 
as are these principles of our religion, — and I am not disposed to keep 
them out of sight, or to disallow, for one moment, the force of the ob- 
jection often made to the Christian instruction of the slaves, that it 
must diffuse principles and feelings inconsistent with this kind of ser- 
vitude, — yet is there nothing alarming in this view of the tendency of 
the Gospel. It connects itself with no violent revolutions, no ensan- 
guined instruments, no violations of order, no storms of passion, no 
sweeps of vengeance. It is the Gospel of peace. It teaches men to 
sustain injury with patience, until they are relieved by legal means ; 
and to trust rather in that disposing of men's hearts which belongs to 
God, than in an arm of flesh. It does not influence one class of society 
only ; but it advances, wherever it is in progress, with a growing 
potency upon all. It is, like the stealing light of morning, soft, pene- 
trating, and expansive ; society rises together ; the governed and the 
governors are enlightened and ameliorated ; power becomes protective, 
and laws righteous, equal, and merciful ; the standard both of right and 
of humanity is raised ; feelings of friendliness connect the extremes of 
society in a common bond of good will ; a regard to circumstances 
dictates and regulates improvement ; and, in the case of slavery, the 
door of freedom is set open, not forced by violence ; and he who, under 
such prudent regulations as a paternal governing power may think it 
right for the safety and interests of all parties to adopt, " may be free," 
as the Apostle Paul observes, " chooses it rather." These are ends 
which, as I have just said, you do not formally propose ; these are 
objects which are to occupy other cares than yours, the cares of men 
in situations of authority and influence, and of the country at large, in 
the exercise of its public and civil duties ; but it stamps a value upon 
your exertions, and may operate as no mean motive to your activity in 
them, that, by moralizing and evangelizing a large portion of your fellow 
subjects, you are preparing them to the hand of a wise philanthropy, 
and the benevolence of the parent and colonial governments, that they 
may be invested with civil rights, and the privileges of a Christian 

III. Hitherto our observations have been general, or rather, your 
attention has been directed chiefly to that vast and wild desert which 
is presented by, at least, seven hundred thousand human beings in our 
West India colonies, upon which the light of the Gospel, as yet, has 
never shone, and in which no seed of truth and righteousness has been 
planted; but I now turn to the effects produced wherever Christian 
care has extended Christian cultivation. There are, thank God, fertile 
spots in this extensive waste ; and wherever they meet the eye and 
cheer the heart, they are the creations of the Gospel. What, then, 
have been the effects, I say not upon thousands, but upon tens of thou- 
sands, of this class of degraded men 1 

Let us try the question, 

1 . By the communication of Christian knowledge. 

I grant, that the elements of Christianity only have been generally 


imparted, and that the opportunities of many of the slaves to attend 
instruction have been, in comparison of our own, few, and often inter- 
rupted. I grant, also, that we shall not find among them the doctrinal 
disputant and the subtle casuist, or the power of mastering many of the 
difficulties of Scripture ; but have we considered what the communica- 
tion of the elements of Christianity to a pagan mind imports, and that 
it is in its elements and first principles that its saving power consists ? 
In the case of an African slave, it has not, I allow, to displace those 
multiplied perversions of truth which an erring but more cultivated 
reason creates, nor to dissipate those illusions of a corrupt but highly- 
wrought imagination with which Asiatic superstition fills and bewilders 
the soul of man. Take it only that his mind is little more than a mere 
blank, as to religious truth, yet how powerfully does that appeal to our 
hearts ! It is a blank which excludes all recognition of God, and all 
knowledge of his intercourse with men ; which shuts out the history 
of our Saviour's incarnation and sacrifice ; which admits no moral dis- 
tinctions ; which catches no light from the immortality which rises 
before us in the Gospel, in forms so impressive and influential. O sad 
condition of man, when his case is considered thus negatively only ! 
But, in the minds of thousands of these slaves, this broad and utter 
blank has, by missionary care, been filled up with that " excellent 
knowledge of Christ" which brings with it all those spirit-stirring, con- 
trolling, and cheering truths to which I have just adverted. At least 
ten thousand of their children in our mission schools, and under the 
instruction of missionaries, catch, with the first opening of their under- 
standings, the rays which break from this vast scene of religious intel- 
ligence ; while numerous societies and congregations of adults through- 
out the islands listen to them from the pulpit, meditate on them at their 
labours, talk of them in the hut, sing them in hymns, and, in admonitory 
advices, commend them to their children. The light has not fully 
dissipated the darkness ; but that day has broken which never more 
shall close. 

2. By the production of morality. 

The want of principle, the absence of moral and even of decent man- 
ners, and the practice of crime among the negroes, have been the con- 
stant topics of complaint among men connected with this species of 
property ; and the facts as to the pagan slaves are not to be questioned. 
These are the effects, the necessary effects, of paganism ; and indeed 
Ave have heard of late, in the heated discussions which have occurred, 
that nothing better could be hoped even from Christianity ; that to 
teach them religion would produce precisely the same effects as the 
heathenism of their uninstructed state ; that the result would be to re- 
lax the nerve of industry, to kindle the angry and to nurture the vengeful 
passions, to break the bond of obedience, and to spread devastation 
throughout the colonies. "Can the same fountain, then, send forth 
streams sweet and bitter?" Or can you trace the same effects to 
opposite and contrary causes ? Are Christian light and pagan darkness 
equally the sources of viee and danger ? If so, we must lay our cen- 
sures equally upon each ; and if we hesitate to dp this, then are we 
compelled to choose against which of the two we will direct our cau- 
tionary expressions of alarm as the cause of evil. To such persons 
we may say, " ' Choose you whom you will serve : if the Lord be God, 


follow him ; if Baal, follow him.' If you attack Christianity as the 
mischievous agent of immorality, then be Christians in name no longer, 
and go over to the purer and more peaceful paganism of the slaves you 
rule ; but if you refuse, then propitiate an injured Christianity, and 
acknowledge that you have been ignorant of its nature, and that you 
have mistaken all its tendencies." That is the only alternative for 
such persons, whose judgment, not whose settled principles, we may 
charitably hope to be in fault ; but for you whom I now address, the 
confidence which you have in the beneficial influence of religious 
instruction upon the negro population of the colonies has a full justifica- 
tion in open and acknowledged facts, and a long and extensive expe- 
rience. What has so generally raised the religious slaves into con- 
fidence, and offices of trust, but their improved character ? What has 
rendered them more healthy, — another fact, — but their temperance ? 
What has given the instructed slave a richer pecidium than his fellow, — 
another acknowledged fact, — but his quickened industry ? What has 
enabled the committee of this society to say, that, for forty years, no 
slave in your societies has been either a conspirator, a rebel, or insub- 
ordinate, but the influence of the precepts of obedience enjoined by the 
Gospel which he has been taught ? What has created so many excel- 
lent friends of missions among the planters of the colonies generally, 
and most in number where your missions have been longest establish- 
ed, and are, consequently, best known, but the obvious moral improve- 
ment of their people ? What are the answers we have been enabled 
to give to the calumnies with which we have been assailed 1 Not 
hypothetic reasonings from abstract principles ; not idle declamations ; 
not promises for the future to atone for the failures of the past ; but 
facts detailed in the annual reports of the society, confirmed by the 
frequent and ample testimony, not of missionaries only, but of persons 
of the greatest observation and influence in the colonies, of the salutary 
and important effects of religious care upon the temper, the happiness, 
and the conduct of the slaves. 

3. By the introduction and establishment of Christian worship among 
this heathen and long-neglected people. 

It may be truly said of the uninstructed slaves of our colonies, that 
they have no religion ; that whatever mythology they had originally in 
Africa, the Creole slaves, now the larger portion of the slave popula- 
tion, know and practise, beyond certain superstitions which have no 
connection or meaning, none of the forms of paganism, and have, there- 
fore, no worship of any kind. I know not how this consideration may 
affect you ; but on me it seems to make an impression more sad, and 
to convey the idea of a desertion more complete, than if imaginary 
powers called forth their hope and their fear, and than if the more in- 
nocent forms of even a delusive devotion occupied their attention, and 
gave exercise to their intellect. For how dull and inert an object, is a 
human mind, when its powers lie unawakened by either a false or a 
true devotion ! How fades from the sight the lofty distinction between 
man and the inferior animals, that the former is capable of converse 
with invisible powers ! Yet this is the case of many hundred thousands 
of uninstructed negroes. Other pagans, even though they greatly err, 
acquire ideas of greater or less sublimity, and affections of some degree 
of force. Nature is not viewed by them with stupid, senseless, inob- 


servant gaze. But to the negro of the colonies the heavens above are 
vacant, both of the true God, and of unreal divinities. To him no spi- 
rit whispers in the woods, no patron power presides over the fountain ; 
his blessings are connected with no invisible superior Benevolence ; 
he has no trust in imaginary guardians ; no refuge from trouble, delu- 
sive as it is, in the creations of his fancy, or the legendary deities of 
his ancestors. I know, indeed, that, as to moral good, and the hopes 
of a better life, nothing substantial and saving can emanate from false 
religion ; but I am not sure, this life only being considered, whether 
the negro would not be a gainer in intellect and quickened feeling by 
the introduction of some of the milder forms of paganism itself; and, 
if so, we reach the deepest conception of his religious destitution. 
What then shall we say, if, to a considerable part of this deserted and 
neglected race, the labours of Christian missionaries have opened the 
glory, the sanctity, and the comforts of even Christian worship ? This 
they have done ; and nothing makes a stronger appeal in behalf of 
such labours to the heart of a benevolent and pious man, than the re- 
sults of this kind with which they have been followed. The true God 
has been revealed to their minds in the splendour of his own revela- 
tions ; the heavens have been taught to declare to them his glory, and 
the firmament to show forth his handy work ; they know him now as 
their " Father in heaven," and have learned that his watchful providence 
extends to them. Rising suns, and smiling fields, and rolling thunders, 
and sweeping hurricanes all speak of him to negro hearts ; and negro 
voices mingle with our own in giving to him the praises due "unto his 
name." The history of the incarnate God and the scenes of Calvary 
have been unfolded to their gaze ; they hear ''the word of reconcilia- 
tion," are invited to a " throne of grace," and there " find mercy, and 
grace to help in time of need." They have the Sabbath with its sanc- 
tities ; and houses of prayer, raised by the liberality of their friends, 
receive their willing, pressing crowds. One to another they now say, 
" Come, and let us go up to the house of the Lord :" and tens of thou- 
sands of them now, in every religious service, join us in those everlast- 
ing anthems of the universal Church, "We praise thee, God! we 
ackowledge thee to be the Lord !" " Glory be to the Father, and to 
the Son, and to the Holy Ghost !" 

4. By the effect produced by Christianity upon their domestic 

It conveys a volume in a single phrase, as to the moral condition of 
the slaves, to say, that, before they were brought under the care of 
missionaries, marriage was almost entirely unknown ; and that it re- 
mains so wherever religious influence has not been applied. In con- 
sequence, the purer affections could have no place in their hearts ; 
parental yearnings had little tenderness ; filial regards no foundation 
in esteem ; and a degrading and destructive immorality swept down 
decency, order, health, and happiness. Jealousies, brawls, and fight- 
ings were the product of every day ; the hut was the scene of revel or 
of strife ; and the toil of the field only suspended the discord or inter- 
rupted the revel to give new energy to the exasperated tongue, and 
vagrancy to the midnight prowl. 

It is among the noblest triumphs of missionary patience, that these 
vices have been subdued in so many thousands. Without the sanction 


of civil law, a sanction which to this hour does not exist ; but the sim- 
ple force of religious instruction, by the habit of submission to the 
commands of Heaven which has been formed, by the creation of con- 
science and the fear of God, all the sanctities and moral and civil 
benefits of marriage have been introduced. About twenty thousand 
negroes, in the Wesleyan societies alone, are now living in this " holy 
state cf matrimony ;" and, within about four years, four thousand mar- 
riages have been performed by their missionaries. Many of these 
have become the heads of families ; distinguished from the rest of their 
fellows by the existence of a superior relation between them and their 
children ; by the strength which virtue gives to affection ; by that care 
for each other which that affection and that relation only can supply ; 
by more of respect abroad, and by peace at home. These are the 
result of your benevolent exertions ; and you may reflect upon them 
with unmingled joy : the Zacharias and Elizabeths of the plantations 
and the town "walking in the statutes and ordinances of the Lord 
blameless ;" — children who share the care of both their parents, the 
effect alone of regular marriages ; children whose morals are guarded 
by parental example ; who feel themselves raised by their very legiti- 
macy above the spurious breed around them ; many thousands of whom 
follow the steps of their parents to the house of prayer, are taught in 
the mission schools, and who convey to the hearts of negro parents a 
thrill which never, in former times, spread its delightful sensation 
through one of their race, when, at the public examinations of the 
schools, catechisms and large portions of the Scriptures are repeated, 
and hymns of praise are poured forth, in thrilling accents, from their 
infant voices. These instances of care for the negro youth, on the 
one hand, and of their improvement on the other, are not now, thank 
God, as formerly, exhibited on a scale too small to attract public notice, 
though then, perhaps, they had even the greater merit ; but these are 
labours which, however opposed in some colonies, have the kindest 
patronage in many others. Planters, magistrates, governors, and presi- 
dents have often, of late, taken a part in these examinations of the 
negro schools, mingled in the delight of those new scenes, and distri- 
buted commendation and rewards for proficiency in the Scriptures, and 
for orderly and devout behaviour in the house of God. 

5. By the effects produced by their religion in trouble, sickness, 
and death. 

I say nothing of wrongs ; but, in the ordinary calamities of .life, what 
is the refuge of pagan negroes ? They have none ; they are " without 
God," and " without hope !" Grief rises into rage, or subsides into 
despair, till a new and sharper pang rouses the heart, and agony again 
relieves itself by expression. But in this the beneficial influence of 
Christianity is strikingly displayed, that it has taught those who knew 
no refuge, no hope in trouble, " to possess their souls in patience," by 
teaching them that God " careth for them;" and to disburden an 
oppressed and sinking heart, by casting their care on him, and resort- 
ing to his throne of mercy in their simple prayers for succour. 

Where religion is not, superstition still retains its place ; and it is 
generally of a gloomy, often of a destructive character. Such is the 
superstition of the African slave. He believes in Obeah, and often 
fancies himself under the power of the professors of that art of de- 


struction. His spirits sink ; his appetite forsakes him ; he shuns 
society ; the power of his imagination produces an overwhelming dread 
of approaching calamity and death ; and, after lingering a short time, 
he dies the victim of his fears. So common has this evil been, as to 
call for the severest laws against the practice of Obeah ; and law has 
done something to check the evil, but religious influence more. So 
well is this known, that, when no other motive has, with some owners 
and managers, existed to call in the aid of missionary exertions, they 
have been sought as the remedy for this fatal superstition ; and where 
instruction has most prevailed, Obeahism has, for the most part, disap- 
peared. The doctrine of providence has banished it ; that has erected 
the prostrate spirit of the negro, taught even his feeble mind to despise 
these occult powers, and saved his life by implanting within him a 
sure trust and confidence in God. 

Sickness is the lot of all ; and the negro is subject to some pecu- 
liarly tedious and afflictive forms of disease. Paganism is always 
selfish and unfeeling. This is its character among negroes. The 
slaves are taken care of by their owners in sickness, as a matter of 
course ; but they are usually deserted by their fellows. The nominal 
husband leaves his wife in hopeless affliction, and seeks another ; the 
wife, in like manner, abandons her husband, and forms a new connec- 
tion ; and thus the sick and the dying are forsaken by all, except those 
whose attendance is compelled. The scene is changed wherever 
Christianity has extended its influence. The sick have heard the 
voice, " Is any afflicted ? let him pray ;" and his relatives remain with 
him, to minister to his wants, and to share and soothe his anguish. 

The negro fur^rals are a disgusting scene ; they are accompanied 
with ridiculous gestures, noisy drumming and shouts, with drinking 
and feasting ; yet, now and then may be discerned a spirit pierced too 
deeply to join the deafening riot, — hearts which have felt the full pang 
of separation. The dead are not always forgotten by the pagan negroes ; 
they resort annually to their graves, and ofFer food and liquor to their 
departed relatives. A negro mother in Jamaica was known, for thir- 
teen years, to make this annual visit to the grave of her daughter, and, 
in an agony of feeling, to offer her oblation. Thus " they sorrow with- 
out hope !" We respect the strength of the affection ; we lament its 
downward earthly tendency : all the thoughts of that poor mother were 
in the grave with her child ; and the only object of that unabated love 
was the mere dust of a dissolved frame. Such is heathenism ! Melt- 
ing and mournful thoughts steal over the recollections of the bereaved 
Christian mother too ; and time has no power to dry up the fountain of 
her tears. Years may pass away ; but the memory of the forms over 
which she has hung with maternal fondness suffers no decay ; it keeps 
its place to the last hour of the most extended life. But, when she 
thinks of her children, she thinks of them as in heaven, not as in the 
grave ; she knows the result, — the resurrection from the dead ; and, 
urged onward by this hope through her remaining pilgrimage, she 
hastens to embrace them again in the kingdom of God. What a con- 
trast in death has been created among the sable population of these 
colonies by Christianity! The harsh sounds of pagan grief and 
carousal have, in ten thousand instances, given place to the solemn 
hymn of praise which celebrates the entrance of another redeemed 


spirit into the mansions of light ; the storm of passionate grief, to the 
calm resignation of piety; and the sad pressure of despair, to the 
lightened feeling of a hallowed hope. The negro burial grounds have, 
during the last forty years, presented spectacles once unknown, — funeral 
trains, preceded by the Christian pastor, consigning to the mansions of 
the dead those who, when living, had been taught from his lips how to 
die, and pronouncing, with a confidence delightfully cheering to his 
future labours, " Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord !" 

This is a feeble sketch of the good effected by the missions in which 
you have, with so much zeal and benevolence, interested yourselves ; 
and, feeble as it is, and much as it falls below an adequate representa- 
tion of their efficiency, I am persuaded, that, by my thus recalling to 
your minds facts with which most of you are familiar, you will be 
induced to bind yourselves anew to this work of mercy, and, as a 
society, to take your full share in the exertions which yet are necessary 
to banish the remaining darkness which broods over these interestinu; 
islands, and to bring the whole slave population into the fold of the 
Church of Christ. 

IV. I call your attention, finally, to a few circumstances tending to 
encourage your zeal and perseverance. 

1. The first is the public recognition which has been made by par- 
liament and by the government of the country, of the necessary con- 
nection between the Christian instruction of the slaves, and the 
amelioration of their civil condition. 

This is a principle, the force of which has always been felt by ob- 
servant men ; it has been acknowledged and acted upon by many bene- 
volent planters abroad, and the effects produced upon the character of 
the Christianized slaves by missionary labours have been an ample 
comment upon it. It is, indeed, certain, that just and beneficent legis- 
lative measures can proceed but few steps without supposing the pre- 
vious or concurrent influence of religion upon those for whom they are 
intended ; and of this the order in council for Trinidad, which contains 
the plan of government for bettering the condition of the slaves, is itself 
a proof. You legislate for the removal of the whip, as a stimulus to 
labour ; and the ground assumed is, that man is a being capable of being 
governed by moral motives, and that it brutalizes him to treat him as 
an irrational animal. The principle is sound ; but it is just in propor- 
tion as religion discovers to man his immortal and accountable nature, 
convinces him of the value of character, and shows him his interest in 
the mercies of God, that he feels more sensibly the distinction between 
himself and the inferior animals, yields more readily to human motives, 
and spurns; with a more elevated feeling, whatever is offensive to the 
just dignity of man. It refines, so to spefak, the sense of humanity, 
and thus lifts up the degraded class above the level of embruted cha- 
racter. You legislate for the establishment of a Sabbath, that the 
worship of God may be observed ; but this supposes both instruction 
in the principle, and habits of respect for the institution. Law may 
make a day of rest from toil, but it can do no more ; a day of reaf 
worship, a Sunday, which shall exert a moral influence, is the sole 
work of religion. The same may be said of marriage, to which the 
pagan negroes are most averse ; to the purchase of manumission, which 
supposes an industry, and a habit of economy, which never exist but 

Vol. I. ' 6 


as rare exceptions, where religion has not, in some considerable de- 
gree, exerted its energy ; and to the giving of evidence in courts of 
law, which necessarily supposes, in order to the full communication of 
the privilege, both the knowledge and the fear of God. Look, then, at 
the whole of that plan, and ask to what extent it can, by any possibility, 
be applied with efficiency among totally uninstructed and pagan slaves. 
It supposes Christianity, in some degree, to begin with ; and it depends 
upon its diffusion for its full accomplishment. Religion and policy are 
combined in it, and wisely. Wise and beneficent laws can do little 
without Christianity, and Christianity is aided by wise and benevolent 
laws. Law is not to wait until Christian instruction is perfected ; 
Christianity is not to delay till legislation has done its office. Both 
have their posts assigned them ; but, to produce moral and civil ame- 
lioration fully among a slave population, both must act together, and 
each will derive strength from a mutual, simultaneous, and harmonious 
co-operation. All this is recognized in the order in council ; and thai 
very plan justifies your past efforts, and, indeed, tacitly applauds them. 
It encourages your persevering exertions ; and you will not remit your 
efforts when you see them thus connected with all that is benevolent 
and wise in the plans of your rulers, and all that is hopeful in the 
advancing condition of your fellow creatures. I may add, too, that it 
will produce in you no feelings but those of satisfaction, to see a pro- 
ject for employing additional labourers in this long-neglected field 
emanating from the zeal of others. For myself, on principle approving 
of an ecclesiastical establishment, when connected with religious 
liberty and full toleration ; convinced as I am of the great moral bene- 
fits which have resulted from the national Church, and are still resulting 
from it, at home ; thinking it the solemn duty of every Christian 
government to place religious instruction within the reach of all its 
necessitous subjects^ — I contemplate the plan of an establishment for 
the West Indies as the discharge of a long-neglected national obliga- 
tion, and augur great good from it, if not immediately, yet ultimately. 
We have long been labouring in the work of negro instruction ; we 
have been almost exclusively so in the majority of the colonies ; but 
we welcome the establishment into this field of toil, reproach, and dan- 
ger. Alas ! how much of it must, after all the agents which can for a 
long time be sent out, remain untilled ! a circumstance which would 
render party spirit on any side at once injurious and detestable, and 
stamp it with its most odious features of folly and of shame. 

2. Another source of encouragement is the increased and increasing 
number of friends to the religious instruction of the slaves in the colo- 
nies themselves. This is to be acknowledged in thankfulness to God, 
and in justice to men. W"hen we speak of men in masses, without 
discrimination, we must inevitably sin against charity or against truth. 
The proprietors of slaves are to be divided into two classes ; and the 
same distribution may be made of the colonies themselves. Some are 
friendly to missionary exertions, and others are hostile. There are 
" who love darkness rather than light," and there are who love light 
rather than darkness. This is a place and an occasion which, on the 
one hand, forbids to flatter, and, on the other, to refuse "honour to 
whom hftnour is due." The majority of persons connected with slave 
property stand chargeable with criminal neglect, or the great proportion 


of slaves would not now be degraded and immoral pagans. Not a few 
have been still more criminally hostile and persecuting. They have 
paced round their enclosures of darkness and vice, intent upon nothing 
so much as to scowl away the messengers of light and mercy, by 
whatever name they might be called, and to seal up the wretched peo- 
ple under their power in ignorance and barbarism. This has been the 
spirit of individuals in some islands, and the spirit of the community in 
others, as in Barbadoes and Demerara. But, still, in the colonies col- 
lectively religion has had its advocates, and slave instruction its foster- 
ing friends ; and for a few past years the number has been increasing. 
Pious and benevolent proprietors, at home and abroad, have felt their 
responsibility to God, and have distinguished themselves by a generous 
flow of feeling to man ; and to them the greater honour is due from us, 
because they too have had to bear the reproach of fanaticism, and have 
had to dare to be singular. By West Indian liberality have many of 
our numerous mission chapels been erected, repaired, and enlarged ; 
our expenses relieved, and our missionaries in part supported ; and, 
under patronage of the most respectable kind, they have often been 
protected from the malice of their assailants, and cheered and encou- 
raged in their labours. In the midst even of the late agitations, the 
society has received a greater number of invitations to extend their 
labours than at any former period ; and but that its funds will not yet 
permit such an exertion, thirty additional missionaries might be sent 
out this instant, with assurance of acceptance and openings for full and 
promising labour. This is surely a motive for unabated and even 
quickened activity. It is only in two or three of those colonies that 
men calling themselves Christians stand guard before every avenue of 
the kingdom of darkness, alarmed at the approach of every foot which 
is " shod with the preparation of the Gospel ;" painfully and pitifully 
anxious that Satan should " keep his goods in peace," and placing all 
their hope of safety and prosperity in the perpetual exclusion of their 
slaves from the light and hopes of the Gospel. All this alarm at 
peaceful men and the peaceful Gospel which they preach would be 
ridiculous, did it not operate to obstruct a work of so much necessity 
and mercy. Better thoughts, we trust, will ere long prevail among 
this class of misinformed or prejudiced persons. For the colonies 
generally, they are largely open to your work of charity ; in almost 
every place there are some who will give a cheering welcome to your 
missionaries ; and in every place the negroes themselves are prepared 
to listen to the heavenly message ; for, whatever else may be said of 
them, this cannot be alleged, that they turn away their ears from in- 
struction. Plant your missionaries where you may, they will not fail 
to surround themselves with crowds of attentive negro hearers. 

3. A third source of encouragement is the improvement which has 
taken place in the character of many white and free coloured people 
in the colonies. 

To carry the influence of Christianity, through a dark and neglected 
population many agents are necessary, beside clergymen and mission- 
aries. If we look around upon our own country, and observe through 
how numerous channels the stream of instruction and moral influence 
is poured, and the impulses which it receives in its course by the 
various operations of philanthropic and Christian activity, we shall 


be convinced of this. Here rank, influence, property, the ntelligence 
and activity of thousands in the middle ranks of life, and the hallowed 
offerings and valuable co-operations of the pious poor, are all com- 
bined to remove the ignorance and correct the vices of society ; and 
with all this, much remains to lament, and much to be accomplished. 
The importance of this ample co-operation of many and various agents 
is, however, manifest ; and as to home improvement, we found our best 
hopes upon it. For a long period this was entirely wanting in the West 
India colonies, and still exists but partially ; but it is growing up with 
that improving character which distinguishes both white and coloured 
free persons, in a few instances, in the worst of the colonies, and to a 
very encouraging extent in the majority of them. There was a time when 
the scene presented by West Indian society was almost unmitigated ; 
when it was an almost unvaried mass of human suffering on the one hand, 
and dissipation and immorality on the other ; when little was seen but the 
harsh lord and the despairing slave ; gloomy servitude and a proud and 
vexatious tyranny ; when almost every youth who was sent from the 
parent country to take up his residence there, however generous in his 
nature, however fortified by his education, plunged into an atmosphere 
thick with the moral infection, and lost, by a rapid process, his humanity, 
his principles, and his morals. Here was the reaction and the curse of 
slavery ; it had its revenge in the corruption and moral death which 
spread around it. Men in possession of Christian truth refused to ap- 
ply the corrective to paganism, and paganism turned its transforming 
power upon them : the white man became black ; and the slaves over 
whom he ruled only served to exasperate his temper, and to give vigour 
to his passions ; they provoked his pride, irritated his anger, plunged 
him in sensuality, obdurated his heart, and fixed upon the Christian 
name the degrading marks of a heathen character. But better and 
brighter scenes have now, for many years past, been displaying them- 
selves, partly by the influence of the rising spirit of religion in the 
parent country extending itself to the colonies, and partly by the direct 
operations of piety and zeal in the colonies themselves. The benevo- 
lent planter, the religious manager, are not unfrequently seen. Many 
persons resident in towns, of respectable rank in society, have, for 
some years, given, and are still giving, the influence of their station 
and the activity of their endeavours to do good. The moral character 
of the free coloured people, all of whom are intelligent, many of them 
well educated and possessed of property, has, in many islands, pre- 
sented a visible and cheering improvement, in spite of the demoraliz- 
ing effect naturally resulting from that most unchristian and impolitic 
prejudice indulged by the whites generally against them on account of 
their colour, and their being considered as a degraded class. A very 
large number of the females of this class especially are rising into 
character under the influence of religion. The concubinage to which 
formerly they were doomed, almost without exception, to white men, 
or to men of their own colour, has, in many instances, on the older 
mission stations, given place to honourable marriages. The cha- 
racter of this class of females has been rescued from its former degra- 
dation : character having been given to them, esteem has followed ; 
and, instead of the coloured women being as formerly, and as a matter 
of course, the objects of seduction, in those islands where the missions 


have been longest established, there are many who, for piety and deli- 
cacy of mind and conduct, are not exceeded in any part of the world. 
From the matrimonial connections which have been thus formed, 
founded on mutual esteem, families are now training up in the fear of 
God, and under the influence of religious example and education ; and 
it is among those eminently exemplary and excellent females of colour, 
which your missions may place among their most interesting trophies, 
that we now find teachers for our schools, patronesses and visiters of 
benevolent societies, instructers and guardian's of the virtue of female 
youth, and active and talented agents for many other offices of pious 

Finally, the blessing of God upon our work commends it to our 
affection and perseverance. 

Were we now, for the first time, called to enter upon this scene of 
labour, and to make the experiment upon the negroes of the colonies 
and on their native continent, undirected by experience, uncheered by 
success, and surrounded with the chilling prophecies of failure, it would 
still be our duty to set forth. The solemn obligation to repair past 
neglects, to redeem our character, and to show compassion to our 
perishing brethren, would all demand that we should make the attempt 
in the face of the world's scorn and the world's anger. To others was 
assigned that task. Revered men ! they waked while the world and 
even the Church slept ; they dropt the tear over scenes which all 
looked upon with indifference ; they regarded, as the purchase of the 
Saviour's sufferings, a race which others had chased out of the family 
of man, or on which had been fixed the mark of Cain or the curse of 
Canaan. Perhaps they trembled while they made the experiment. — 
Strong as was their faith, did it never falter, when not only the insult- 
ing white, but the degradation of the pitied race itself seemed to scoff 
the effort ; and when, through every chamber of that vast sepulchre of 
souls, dead in sin, a forbidding voice seemed to issue, " Can these dry 
bones live V Perhaps it did falter. The language of the anxious 
hearts of the first Christian labourers, pressing forward in a work as 
yet uncheered by a conversion, and often cheated by fallacious pro- 
mises of a success which only bloomed to wither, might, perhaps, often 
be, " Lord, I believe ; help thou my unbelief!" The prayer was heard. 
Faith, small as a grain of mustard seed, has the prerogative of remov- 
ing mountains. They went out weeping, " bearing precious seed ;" 
and the very earliest labourers came again " rejoicing, bringing the 
sheaves with them." They opened the path to their successors, who 
have carried out the work to the extent in which it now presents itself; 
and thus it has descended to our cares, stamped and charactered with 
the most obvious proofs of a Divine sanction and of the special co-ope- 
ration of God. What else could have produced the effects which we 
now behold? Unpatronized by power, uncheered by a smile, often 
persecuted, always ridiculed, counteracted by demoralizing circum- 
stances, watched with suspicion, — this was its history for many years ; 
yet in those years it had, from among a heathen population, raised up 
thousands, of whom one, who had a large acquaintance with the fact, 
says, with a truth which might be established by many specific in- 
stances, were you not familiar with them : — 

" However debased by vice the slaves were in the days of their 


ignorance, they are now sober, chaste, industrious, and upright in all 
their dealings. Nor is this all ; they are eager, punctual, and perse- 
vering in all the services of devotion. Their domestic circle is dis- 
tinguished by the daily exercise of prayer and praise ; and the Sabbath 
is called ' a delight, the holy of the Lord,' and spent in the solemnities 
of his sacred worship. This is indeed wonderful ! In a country where 
the Sabbath is devoted to public traffic ; where, comparatively speak- 
ing, marriage is not so much as thought of; and where it is common 
to indulge in the most debauched inclinations, without the least re- 
straint, — to see them keeping the Sabbath day holy, renouncing all 
their criminal connections, and standing forth as examples of purity and 
religion, is manifestly the Lord's doing ; for nothing short of the power 
of God could obtain a victory like this over habit, example, and such 
corruption of the human heart." 

Into a work, thus marked by the Divine blessing, you are called to 
enter with renewed vigour ; and since it has thus succeeded, and is 
still in vigorous and hopeful operation ; since it is increasing yearly its 
friends and patrons, and has excited others to commence similar enter- 
prises of religious charity ; and especially since we see the cause of 
negro instruction and protection engaging the attention and interests of 
all classes of our countrymen, — can we doubt that the delightful time 
is hastening, when Africa and all her sons shall partake, after ages oi 
desertion and injury, the full mercies of the Gospel 1 It is one of the 
most cheering harbingers of this consummation, that the nations of the 
earth are staying the ravages which have for ages wasted her shores ; 
that two of the most powerful maritime states, our own country and the 
United States of America, have at length raised their principles to the 
only proper standard by which such outrages can be truly judged, and have 
declared the slave trade piracy. Thus " the shields of the earth, which 
belong unto the Lord," have thrown the protecting shadow of their jus- 
tice over those defenceless coasts where the Christian name has been 
most deeply dishonoured, and the rights and feelings of men have been 
most criminally outraged. But the spiritual mercies branch off in more 
numerous streams, and pour forth for Africa a more copious current. 
We need no laborious and critical investigation to determine whether 
" Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God ;" no prying into 
the mystic counsels of Heaven, to ascertain whether " the time to 
favour her, yea, the set time, be come." Go to the colonies, where 
her sons are in captivity : scarcely is there one of them where this 
society alone has not one or two, in many five or six, sacred buildings 
for worship and instruction devoted to their use, and which they regard 
as peculiarly their own. One colony I except. Sacrilegious hands 
there rent it to the earth, and denied to the negro his " house of prayer." 
But that is a solitary monument of shame. For the rest, in those 
crowded congregations, in those spacious edifices, Ethiopia already 
" stretches out her hands unto God," and, led by the light which creates 
our Sabbaths, meets us at the same throne of grace, and receives, with 
us, the benedictions of the common Father and the common Saviour. 
And the prophetic promise is dawning upon parent Africa also. Hot- 
tentots, Caffres, Boschuanas, Namaquas, Corranas, Griquas, in the 
south, Bulloms, Foulahs, and Mandingos, in the west, some of all your 
tribes are already in the fold, and hear and love the voice of the graat 


Shepherd. We hail you as our brethren ! the front ranks of all those 
swarthy tribes which are deeply buried in the vast interior of an unex- 
plored continent, you stretch out your hands unto God, as a signal for 
the tribes beyond you ; and the signal shall be followed, and every 
hand of thy millions, Africa ! shall raise itself in devotion to thy pity- 
ing Saviour, and every lip shall, ere long, modulate accents of grateful 
praise to thy long-concealed but faithful God. 

God is eminently with us in this " labour of love ;" nor is it the 
least important of the indications of his presence, that he whose prero- 
gative it is to send forth labourers into this harvest is conducting the 
steps of so many into the African field ; that a number of holy men, 
from year to year, have infused into their hearts a special compassion 
for this race, and prefer to ease at home, and the peace and credit of 
the Christian ministry in their native land, the danger, the toil, and the 
reproaches, which still attend the work of negro instruction. Let the 
memory of those who have finished their work be blessed ; of those 
who have burnt in fevers, languished in prisons, sustained with meek- 
ness the scoffs and jests of the impious, and sunk into a premature 
grave. Their " reward is on high," and their " work with their God." 
And, as to those who now endure the cross and glory in it, whether 
they labour under the suns of the West Indies, or in western Africa 
breathe pestilential air, or in the southern parts of that continent toil 
over hills and through deserts, " to seek and to save that which is lost," 
let these be witnesses to us, on the part of God, that he is with us. — 
What gold could purchase such instruments ? What education could 
form them 1 What implanted principle of human action, where wealth, 
and honour, and ease, are all absent, could send them forth 1 They are 
the instruments of Heaven, prepared to our hand and for our use, and 
indicating, by the very nature of their preparation, the special use to 
which we are to apply them. They are the agents to carry forth our 
charities to the heathen, to bear our light into the darkness we pity, 
and our mercy into the misery over which we sigh. Without them 
we should sigh in vain, and our sympathies would terminate in our- 
selves ; by them we reach and relieve the case of destitute millions, 
and transmit the blessedness of which we are anxious that all should 
partake. Thus, man is made a saviour to his fellow, and the creature 
of a day the instrument of conveying blessings which have no bound 
but a limitless eternity itself! 

Enter, then, more fully into the spirit of the text, and " honour all 
men," I love these brief and general sentiments of benevolence which 
come upon us so suddenly and with such frequency in the New Testa- 
ment. They show fulness, and the fulness of a more than human kind- 
ness. If uninspired man had uttered them, he Mould have felt them to 
be so. novel, so far removed out of the common course of the thoughts 
and feelings of mankind, and would have anticipated so many objections, 
that he must have thought it necessary to accompany them with the 
ingenuity of apology and the labour of argument. But their very man- 
ner shows that they come from God. It is for him to be authoritative ; 
and they are uttered in the appropriate form of law : it is in him only 
that goodness exists in infinite fulness ; and these precepts of charity 
are its affecting manifestations, the gushings of that yearling tender- 
ness with which he regards all his creatures. O God ! it is from thee 


that we learn to love one another ; to love man, because thou lovest him ; 
to " honour him," because " thou hast set thy heart upon him." When 
from these views and principles we go forth into the world, what con- 
trasts do we behold ! Is man loved and honoured by man ? The fiercest 
beasts of the gloomy forest are not to him what he is to his kind : theirs 
is the ferocitv of hunger, his that of malignity; theirs is appetite, his 
is passion. But there is a redeeming power at work in our world ; and 
that is the word of the living God, the Gospel of peace and salvation. 
Wherever that comes, it is a shield to the defenceless and a refuge for 
the oppressed. Orphans find in it a Father, widows a Husband, slaves 
a Master in heaven, the wronged and spurned " a Judge in his holy 
habitation." What sorrows has it cheered ! Avhat injuries has it 
arrested ! what benevolent creations has it spread around us ! How 
soft are its tones of pity ! how loud its denunciations of wrong and 
violence ! The yearnings of philanthropy, the ardour of missionary 
zeal, the active love of our neighbour, the awful equity of law, the 
loftiness of patriotism, are all its own. These are the blessings which 
it has conferred at home, and these are the effects which it is working 
abroad. With this high commission, it is charged by its Divine Author 
to visit every land, " to comfort all that mourn, to appoint unto them 
beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise 
for the spirit of heaviness, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." 
when shall this " glorious Gospel of the blessed God" dawn upon all 
lands ? when shall it wipe away all tears ? when shall floods clap their 
hands, and forests wave instinct with the universal gladness, and hills 
rejoice, and valleys sing, and the Gentiles of every lip and name " glo- 
rify God for his mercy!" Said I, "When shall it dawn?" Where is 
the land on which it dawns not ? The illustrious morning breaks, and 
the shadows fly away ! In the most distant wildernesses and deserts of 
the world, deserts never till of late vocal with the sound of salvation, 
the voice of the heralds of the universal Saviour-King is at length 
heard : — " Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert 
a highway for our God : every valley shall be exalted, and every 
mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made 
straight, and the rough places plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be 
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord 
hath spoken it." 

In behalf of one branch of those great operations which the Church 
of Christ is carrying on to hasten this consummation, you have been 
now addressed. To your care and liberality the negro missions in 
the West. Indies are commended. Remember the immense number of 
pagan and uninstructed slaves which remain ; and suffer me to leave 
upon your minds a strong impression of your duty respecting them, by 
closing what I have said with an extract from the work I before re- 
ferred to. Melancholy it is, that, after the lapse of one hundred and 
fifty years, such an appeal should be so applicable, and that so much 
should yet remain to be done, and so many difficulties and obstacles to 
be encountered. Thus the author of " The Negro's Advocate" pleaded 
in the year 1660 ; and, though dead, he yet speaketh to us : — 

" Let us consider, that we have no more dispensation for our silence 
than the apostles, with other succeeding holy bishops and priests, had, 
who first planted and watered the Church with their blood, and went 


about and preached every where, when it was death to be a Christian ; 
— that faith is an active and prolific grace, and cannot remain in idle- 
ness, but must operate and employ that heavenly heat which it receives 
from above, for the use of others ; — that there is no neutrality in this 
war ; and that whoever is not actually in arms, prepared to fight against 
sin and infidelity, is to be reputed a conspirator with them ; — that, there 
is the same heaven and salvation proposed for the conversion of slaves, 
as of more illustrious grandees ; the whole being but the saving of 
souls ; the effecting of which upon but a very few is worth the labour 
of many all their lives. Even we, no less than St. Paul, are debtors 
' to the Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise.' And 
God hath, by an extraordinary providence, brought these people to our 
very doors, to try our justice, and to see whether we will pay his debt, 
unto which, if ever any did, each soul of us does stand most firmly 
obliged. Look upon them, and you cannot but see in their countenances 
the lively effigies of St. Paul's Macedonian, imploring your help : and 
O ! let not the blood of souls cry from the earth for vengeance against 
us. Reflect but upon the sad doom denounced against the fearful and 
unbelieving, Rev. xxi, and remember that the first great founders of 
our faith were no cowards. Think what shame it is, that we have 
given such just cause to the enemies of religion to reproach and triumph 
over our timidity, or, which is worse, our temporizing for filthy lucre. 
Nor let the opposition and peevishness of unreasonable men dishearten 
us ; as knowing that our true portion is to be sent forth as sheep among 
wolves ; and that success is, for the most part, the companion of a 
restless industry. Even so we, overlooking all difficulties, and press- 
ing still forward to the mark, if we faint not, may obtain that prize for 
which we set forth, and accomplish a work greatly tending to the glory 
of God, and to the happiness of these poor people's souls, no less than 
of our own. And O, were our duty, as St. Chrysostom sweetly exhort- 
eth of piety and a virtuous life, faithfully complied with, ' Ave might 
soon, and even without miracles, convert the world.' ' Wherefore lift 
up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees,' as saith the apostle 
' Let us be instant in season and out of season,' and keep back nothing 
of the whole counsel of God that is necessary for the souls of men." 

May these sentiments deeply affect us, and all whose connection 
with the West India colonies especially binds them to uphold the credit 
of the Christian profession, and to manifest the zeal and kindness of 
Christian charity. 

Sermon VI. — God glorified in good Men. 

Preached at Great Queen-street Chapel, London, on Sunday, July 9, 1826, on 
Occasion of the Death of Joseph Butterworth, Esq., late M. P. for Dover. 

" And they glorified God in me," Galatians i, 24. 

I have been very unexpectedly called upon to improve this mournful 
occasion- So far as my compliance with the request of the executors 
of our lamented friend may be regarded as an expression of respect and 


veneration for his memory, it was, on my part, a compliance most 
cheerful and prompt : in every other respect it has imposed a burden 
upon me ; the weightiest part of which is, that I stand in the place of 
others, whose more intimate acquaintance with the deceased, and whose 
general qualifications, would have enabled them to do greater justice to 
his character, and more effectually to impress upon you those solemn 
lessons which events like that which we deplore, strokes of mortality 
more than usually eminent and afflictive, are intended by Divine Pro- 
vidence to array before our eyes, and to convey with emphasis to our 

To the duty which has been laid upon me, I must now, however, by 
Divine assistance, address myself; and if I may plead, on the one hand, 
my want of a more intimate acquaintance with our departed friend, for 
that absence of instructive anecdote, and of that minuter tracery of 
character, which an intimate friend might have supplied, the additional 
impartiality which I may derive from the absence of so powerful a bias 
as a long and intimate friendship with a character so potent to awaken 
affection, may give greater force to those general sketches and outlines, 
which only it is in my power to present. 

Is it, then, your intention, you perhaps ask, to pronounce a eulogy 
upon the departed ? I refer you to my text as an answer : " And they 
glorified God in me." The Apostle Paul, having been converted to the 
faith he once persecuted, was eminently faithful to his vocation from 
Heaven. He conferred not with flesh and blood ; he commenced his 
glorious career of evangelical labour in Arabia and Damascus ; for three 
years this new apostle had there displayed the rudiments of that high 
and gifted character, which has given to him an imperishable name in 
the annals of the Christian Church ; and a full report of his conversion 
and conduct had been made to the apostles and the Church at Jerusa- 
lem. Did they then boast of the acquisition of the disciple of Gamaliel ? 
Did they turn his learning, his talents, his energy, his miraculous 
powers, his deep and heavenly wisdom, into matter of party vanity and 
creature dependence 1 They had not so learned Christ ; but, tracing 
the stream to its fountain, " they," says the apostle, " glorified God in 
me ;" and in this dispensation of mercy to a distinguished individual, 
at once acknowledged his rich endowments, and the efficacy of that 
victorious grace by which they had been sanctified to the noblest uses, 
and subordinated to the advancement of the best of causes. 

The lesson which we are taught is of great importance. We are 
taught to honour God in man, and man in God. We are taught to 
avoid, on the one hand, all creature idolatry ; and,- on the other, that 
cynical severity, or ungrateful indifference to the Author of all good in 
man, which undervalues or neglects the excellencies which ought to 
be held up to admiration, that they may be imitated by ourselves and 
others. Each of these extremes robs God of his just revenue of grate- 
ful praise. 

Lamentable, indeed, is the case of the man who can walk among the 
splendours of this material world, and behold the sun pavilioned in his 
own glory, creating our days, tempering our seasons, and spreading 
around us, wherever we turn, scenes of grandeur and beauty, without 
thinking of that higher and uncreated Light of which his brightness is 
but the shadow. Nor is the case allevi.ated should he add philosophy 


to religious apathy, and be able to calculate the sun's distance from our 
earth, and to lay down the laws by which his rays deck the world with 
colours, and bring out the various forms of the objects which surround 
us. The undevout pryings of the philosopher are even more shocking 
to a well-regulated moral feeling, than the thoughtless gaze of the 

But then, on the other hand, would it not be preposterous to teach, 
that, in order to secure the glory of creation to God, it is necessary to 
disregard the excellency of his work ; and that, in order to keep our 
minds worthily fixed upon the perfections of God, and to avoid giving 
honour to the sun because of his splendour, we must forget or deny 
that he shines, and that his rays do in reality array the world in beauty, 
and spread life through all its elements ? 

We apply this to men. In what does creature idolatry consist, but 
in honouring, and trusting in, the natural and acquired excellencies of 
creatures, to the exclusion of God ? It is thus that their powers are 
exaggerated in our estimation, as to their degree ; and it is thus that 
we assign to them an uncontrolled efficiency, and criminally depend 
upon them. 

But " cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his 
arm." Man still remains connected with and controlled by God, 
whether we mark that connection and dependence or not. Trust we in 
his wisdom 1 God turns the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. — 
Trust we in his power ? He stretches out his arm in the plenitude of 
his self confidence ; and the unseen, unacknowledged power withers it 
in its might, so that the king of ten tribes cannot " pull it back to him 
again." Trust we in his life ? It is a vapour, which a breath scatters ; 
it is " the grass of the earth, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into 
the oven." 

But is there, then, no wisdom, no might, no excellence in man ? As 
it were absurd to deny this, it would be affectation to pretend to over- 
look it. What good, and what evil, may not man effect ! We at once 
acknowledge his weakness, and tremble at his power. But let us con- 
sider him in God. " Men," says the psalmist, " which are thy hand," 
— his hand, by permission, to vex and punish, — his hand, by commis- 
sion, to bless. Have they wisdom- to instruct us ? It is light from him. 
Have they power ? It is supplied by his energy. Is their life length- 
ened ? It is in his mercy to them and to society. Admire and deny 
not, then, this wisdom ; acknowledge this efficiency, and affect not to 
lower its estimate ; only " glorify God, who worketh all in all." If he 
has chosen any of them to be more eminently his instruments, for the 
furtherance of his purposes of mercy to mankind, he does it by virtue 
of his sovereignty, which has the right to make vessels of honour, or 
of inferior honour, or of dishonour : if he continues their useful lives, 
while you have their light, rejoice in the light, and glorify Him from 
whom it comes, as its original and source ; and when he chooses to 
quench these stars of his right hand in the darkness of death, still 
glorify him. As to us, this is to remind us of our dependence upon 
Him who appointed their orbit, and invested them with their different 
degrees of glory ; and as to them, though their lustre fades from these 
visible skies often while we most fondly gaze upon it, it is that it may 
be rekindled in superior glory in the kingdom of their Father. 


On this principle of glorifying God in man it is, that I shall now 
proceed to present you with a general view of the character and con- 
duct of our venerated and departed friend. I call upon you not to 
magnify him, but " the grace of God in him ;" and whatsoever things 
were pure, and lovely, and honest, and of good report in him ; if there 
he " any virtue, any praise" in his remembered character, I beseech 
you to think of these things. " Be ye not slothful, but followers," 
imitators, " of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." 

I begin witli that which is of the first importance to every man, and 
which is the only true key to character, — with Mr. Butterworth's con- 
version to the true knowledge and faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The man of the world here stumbles, and perhaps mocks. But, 
•whether Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, can comprehend it or not, still 
the word of eternal truth remains steadfast and unchangeable, — "Ye 
must be born again." There is, if our Bible be not a fable, this broad 
and marked distinction among men, — " the natural man," and " the 
spiritual man ;" in other words, man as he is by nature, and man as he 
is when renewed by the transforming influences of the Holy Spirit. — 
So necessary also, be it. remembered, is this change, that " except a 
man be" thus " born again," except he be made by this mystic second 
birth what he is not. and cannot be, by his natural birth, " he cannot 
see the kingdom of God." To admit the conviction of our sin and 
danger, to confess them before God, to plead with all the earnestness 
of an awakened spirit for the pardon of past transgressions, through the 
merit of the atonement of Christ, and, by an entire trust in that, as the 
only ground of our acceptance as sinners before God, to seek that 
" renewing of the Holy Ghost," by Avhich " old things pass away, and 
all things become new," is the only process from the natural to the 
spiritual state of man ; from death to life. Through this process was 
the mind of our departed friend conducted ; it was in his experience 
clear and definite in all its parts ; and it issued in that decided change 
of heart which gave so strong a character to his future life. The son 
of a pious dissenting minister of the Baptist persuasion, and religiously 
educated, he had still to prove how true is that saying of the evangelist, 
that the sons of God " are not born of blood, nor of the will of the 
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God ;" that, unspeakable as are 
the advantages of a religious education, yet that religion itself is not 
hereditary ; and that this work in the heart of man is, in the most 
emphatic sense, the work of God. Into the circumstances which led 
on, and, by the mercy of God, were followed by, this change, we need 
not enter ; it is sufficient to say, that, by God's blessing upon the 
ministry of Dr. Adam Clarke, his relative by marriage, he was awakened 
to a deep sense of his natural corruption and danger as a sinful man ; 
and that, led by the light of those evangelical views which he had 
received from education, and which were now farther opened to his 
mind by conversation with a new circle of religious friends, he sought 
pardon and personal acceptance with God through Christ, and did not 
seek in vain. He was not left in doubt and uncertainty. He had been 
instructed, that he who believeth "hath the witness in himself;" and 
that " the Spirit itself witnesses with our spirits," upon our justification 
before God, " that we are the sons of God." He claimed these pro- 
mises, and attained them ; and his experience was henceforward marked 


with cheerful confidence : no gloomy shadows hung over his views of" 
God, or upon his prospects of the future. Nothing was farther removed 
from him than religious despondency or doubt ; and while humility, 
and a deeply reverential spirit in every thing which brought him espe- 
cially near to God, were in him graces of an eminent character, be 
habitually "joyed in God, by whom he had received the atonement ;" 
and showed to all who had the benefit of his acquaintance, how truly 
" the ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and her paths paths of 
peace." His was a heart at rest with God and with itself, and which 
always spread the grateful influence of its own calmness and felicity 
upon all around him. 

We pass on to what we may call the habitual religious character of 
the deceased. "We count them happy," says the apostle, "that 
endure." To begin well in a religious course is so important, that 
future experience often takes its character from it. He who enters not 
in by the strait gate finds not the way which leadeth to life ; he, the 
foundations of whose religion are not laid in the depths of self abase- 
ment, and a lively faith in the sacrifice and intercession of Christ, builds 
upon the sand, and his house will not bear up against the rocking of 
those winds with which it must be assailed, and the beating of those 
waves which seasons of temptation shall heave against it. But perse- 
verance crowns the whole ; and I have heard of no decline, no slacken- 
ing of the religious course of our friend now with God. Certainly 
since I have had the pleasure of frequent intercourse with him for the 
last ten years, I have observed on all occasions the manifestations of a 
devout and ardent piety ; a heart alive to sacred things, and tuned to 
accord with all that was hallowed in its tendency, whether of glory to 
God, or good will to men. His life was evidently a life of faith in the 
Son of God ; and, without the least affectation, (for his character was 
one of great simplicity,) he appeared ready to every good word and 
work. There was in him an even flow of spiritual mindedness, uninter- 
rupted by the numerous and varied engagements of an active life ; and 
he was in this respect, I conceive, an eminent instance of that mighty 
influence which a mind " stayed on God" exerts over the busy affairs 
of life, subduing them to its own tranquil dominion, and gently guiding 
them with unruffled flow, each into its proper channel. 

But if on Mr. Butterworth's religious character I may be allowed to 
be a little more minute, I would regard it as strongly marked in the 
following particulars : — 

It was devotional. To the duties of the closet, prayer, and medita- 
tion on the Scriptures, his attention, I have reason to believe, was strict 
and faithful ; but I pry not there where he, according to the injunction 
of his Lord, having entered into the closet, " shut the door, and prayed 
to his Father in secret ;" and we may rather judge of the efficacy of 
those exercises by that constancy and strength which he derived from 
them ; by that " rewarding openly," of which he was so obviously an 

The religious ordering of a family, and the observance of the Sab- 
bath, are more open to remark ; and here the devotional character of 
our departed friend had an edifying manifestation. The service of his 
domestic altar was regular, serious, and lively. This was not with him 
matter of compliance with a form ; but as the priest of his household 


he offered gifts and sacrifices with hallowed hands, and hallowed fire. 
He commenced life, and was at the head of a family before his con- 
version ; and the introduction of family worship was therefore attended 
with a struggle ; but when once begun, it suffered no interruption. It 
was regarded as a business, not an incident ; there was in his house no 
guilty shame of bowing the knee to God ; the duty was never made to 
give place to inferior concerns ; the appointed hour was sacred ; and 
the family circle of worshippers opened to receive, not to fly from the 
presence of visitants and strangers. 

The hour of seven o'clock on the morning of the Sabbath found him 
in the vestry of this chapel in the exercise of the office of a class leader; 
an office in our society which he held for near thirty years, and dis- 
charged with a regularity, faithfulness, and affection, never to be for- 
gotten by many excellent persons still on earth, over whose religious 
progress he watched ; and by many in heaven, to whose preparation 
for the rest they now enjoy with God, his admonitions and advices, by 
the Divine blessing, so greatly contributed. Neither the distance from 
his residence, nor the most unfavourable weather in the depth of winter 
prevented his punctual attendance at this early hour ; and to his pious 
and judicious counsels and fervent prayers many young persons espe- 
cially, who met in his class, owed their conversion and religious 

To his household that sacred day was a day of rest and quiet ; the 
Sabbath of the Lord was there " accounted honourable, a day of de- 
light ;" and to more extended family services, and the most conscien- 
tious attendance at the house of God, he frequently added visits of 
piety and mercy to the dwellings of the poor and destitute. Thus to 
his friends, and also to his servants, was his house made " the house 
of God," and in not a few instances " the gate of heaven ;" the pious 
among them were edified ; and as to others, previously careless of 
religious concerns, their admission into his family proved the means 
of their introduction into the family of God. 

His personal religion was social. It neither confined him in re- 
tirement, nor detained him wholly among the active scenes of external 
life It is indeed remarkable, how a man who lived so much for 
others, who had upon him the cares of an extensive private business, 
and who, exclusive of his parliamentary engagements, was in the com- 
mittees, and took so active a part in the management of so many public 
charities, could enjoy so much of home. His house was, however, 
eminently a home ; and it brought with it its full share of enjoyment. 
Kindness of heart, and serenity of manner, a manner at once frank and 
dignified, collected about him, almost constantly, smaller circles of 
select, or larger companies of more general acquaintance ; and both to 
him and his visiters the time thus spent was at once refreshing to the 
spirits, and improving to the heart. The kindliness of his own nature 
insensibly diffused itself through the society thus collected ; and under 
the presiding dignity of the Christian host, the tone of a right and 
religious feeling was preserved unbroken. I have met with few men 
who possessed in so high a degree the great but rare art of leading on 
an instructive or a directly religious conversation without stiffness and 
effort. He made the various circumstances and talents of his guests 
to contribute their part to the general edification ; led each to converse 


on those subjects with which he was most familiar ; and thus placed 
the whole at ease with themselves and with each other. 

To young persons he was especially and attractively benign, affec- 
tionately affording them his counsel, stimulating them to exertion, and 
showing a solicitude for their best interests, the more impressive and 
influential, as it was free from all austerity, and carried with it the soft 
and penetrating influence of an unaffected benevolence. This was not 
confined to the young persons of his immediate connections ; it was a 
characteristic Avhich showed itself on a large scale, and with a most 
amiable uniformity. To be the guide and the friend of young men in 
the commencement of their career of life, and when thrown upon the 
dangers and hazards of the metropolis, became in .him so much a habit, 
that he seemed to be drawn almost instinctively to this important but 
often neglected species of philanthropy. Many witnesses of this, 
perhaps, hear me at this time ; and many more there are in respectable 
and creditable situations in life, who owe much to his efficient help, 
as well as to his valuable counsels, and his almost paternal superin- 
tendence. He was always anxious also to train up young persons to 
usefulness ; and he constantly inculcated it upon them, that the most 
effectual means of gaining spiritual good for themselves, was to strive 
to do good in every possible way to others. It was, therefore, his 
constant endeavour to engage them in some work of benevolence, as 
Sunday school teachers, visiters of the sick and poor, or agents of the 
Strangers' Friend and other useful societies. 

To these particulars I must add his truly catholic spirit. It is one 
of those marks of character which St. Paul directs Titus to observe 
in ordaining to the office of bishop, that the candidate should be "a 
lover of good men ;" by which he intimated that in this grace, as well 
as in every other, he ought to be an example to the whole body of 
Christians, and raise up the members of his charge to the standard of his 
own charity. We know too well how greatly the Churches of Christ have 
departed from this rule, and how often their honours have been reserved 
to crown the haughty brows of the fierce and fiery zealot. Sad and 
humbling, truly, is the picture which the different societies of Chris- 
tians have presented through many succeeding ages. With shame we 
must acknowledge that " the spirit which is in them has lusted to 
envy ;" and when they have not engaged in direct hostilities within 
those sacred precincts, where the " peace" which Christ breathed upon 
his disciples ought ever to have maintained its calming influence over 
their hearts, yet how sedulously have indifference and selfishness 
employed themselves to pile up their icy barriers around the different 
divisions of the Church, and to restrain those tides of generous feeling, 
which were designed to roll through the expanse of the common ocean, 
to the mere creeks and gulfs which indent its shores ! 

We are told that brighter rays have of late begun to break through 
those vapours of earthly passion which for so many ages have obscured 
the character of genuine Christianity ; and we rejoice to admit the 
fact ; but the change is still so limited and partial, that the truly 
catholic spirit is, alas ! not yet a common but a special and peculiar 
characteristic. In proportion then to the rareness and value of this 
virtue, let us glorify God in all who have most carefully cultivated and 
most eminently exemplified it. Wherever they are found, and what- 


ever may be their condition, they present us with the only perfect 
image, of our Divine religion, as it came fresh and unstained from the 
hands of its Author, and was displayed before the world in the charity 
of the pentecostal Churches. The disciples were then " of one heart 
and of one soul ;" and when that blessed hour of universal concord and 
love shall again arrive, the Church shall again assume her omnipotence 
over the world, and the world shall believe that Christ was sent of 

Such, in an eminent degree, was the spirit and temper of the de- 
ceased. Without laxity in his religious opinions ; holding with tenacity, 
as the only foundation of hope, and the only source of spiritual life, 
those leading doctrines which among orthodox Christians are regarded 
as fundamental ; the less important differences, which each party con- 
scientiously regard and adhere to, as in their view more or less conform- 
able to the Scriptures, and connected with edification, were never 
regarded by him either as a bar to religious friendship, or as an allow- 
able check upon the flow of brotherly affection. In this respect his 
spirit had a truly noble bearing. He not only loved good men, of 
every name and country, but " his delight was with the excellent of 
the earth, and with the saints that excel in virtue." Every other 
consideration was by him lost sight of when a genuine character of 
" love to our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity" was ascertained, or 
admitted on the judgment of a charity which hoped all things. Even 
the incipient manifestations of seriousness, and religious inquiry, and 
good desire, were sufficient to expand his heart, and to gain for all 
admission to his regards and sympathizing cares. Few men have had 
so extensive an intercourse with what is called the religious world. 
Educated a dissenter, and to his death a Wesleyan Methodist, (to 
which body he showed in his latter years a renewed and increased 
attachment,) he had a warm affection for the Church of England. He 
participated in her services, and saw with joy that revival of the spirit 
of religion among her ministers and members, which now promises 
results so important. He regarded all religious bodies, " holding the 
Head," Christ, as a part of his universal Church, and as working 
together in different degrees and departments for the spread of " the 
common salvation." He was thus fitted, on principle, heartily to co- 
operate with those religious and benevolent societies, which unite the 
wise and the good of different religious persuasions in their administra- 
tion ; and when persons of varying sentiments met at his social board, 
the voice of controversy never disturbed that harmony of feeling which 
united all as the followers of the same Divine Saviour, and the heirs 
of the same immortal hopes. 

In the personal character of our departed friend there are yet one 
or two other traits to which I must briefly advert. 
The first is zeal. 

Zeal may exist without charity ; but true charity and zeal are not 
only inseparable, but almost identical. Zeal is charity in action, an 
ardour fed by charity as its element, and deriving from it the elasticity 
and constancy of its activity. True as this is, yet the quality of true 
zeal is presented in some characters under aspects more marked and 
striking than in others. This is the case with the character before us ; 
and if zeal may be described to be a fervent desire to accomplish any 


object, accompanied with corresponding efforts, the life of the deceased 
would furnish many more illustrations than we have time to dwell upon, 
or even to glance at. Both the ardent and the practical characters of 
an elevated zeal were conspicuous in him, even in his lower charities, 
in which he was always anxious really to relieve the case, when it 
was once espoused ; and, not content with merely bestowing a favour, 
counsel, oversight, and personal exertion were generally employed to 
render it as effectual as possible. These qualities were in a similar 
manner displayed on the larger scale of exertion required by the course 
of public business in which he was engaged; in those societies for 
the promotion of education and morals, for relieving the distresses of 
the poor, and assuaging the various calamities to which our nature is 
subject, of which he was a member ; in the active part he took, from 
its commencement, in the concerns of that immortal institution, the 
British and Foreign Bible Society ; and, above all, in the cause of 
missions, — a cause with him of the highest and most sacred character, 
engaging most deeply the cares and interests of his heart, leading him 
to much laborious exertion, and calling forth some of the noblest 
exercises of his liberality. 

With almost all missionary societies he was, I believe, more or less 
connected by pecuniary subscriptions, or by taking also some active 
part in promoting their interests ; but, as the treasurer of the Wesleyan 
Missionary Society for several years, the chairman of its annual meet- 
ings, and one of the most constant and active members of its committee, 
a debt of deep and lively gratitude is specially due from us to his 
memory. The official situation which I have had the honour to hold 
in that society brought me into an intercourse with him on these sub- 
jects, both in public and private, which enables me to bear this testimony. 
The miseries of mankind, the sad effects of idolatry, ignorance, and 
superstition, as constantly presenting themselves in accounts received 
from every part of the earth, manifestly touched him with the tenderest 
compassion ; and as an illustration of that practical character of his 
zeal to which I have adverted, he was always among the first to ask, 
when such accounts were read or stated in the committee, " What can 
we do to meet the case ?" Pressing as the necessary expenditure of 
so large and increasing a missionary institution often was upon the 
fund of which he was the treasurer, and frequently as he was called to 
make advances to meet its exigencies, I never recollect him to have 
repressed a motion for enlarging the work of God in any promising 
direction, or not to kindle into holy anticipation al the prospect of ex- 
tending the kingdom of our Lord into the dominions of darkness by 
some new and hopeful enterprise. Whatever of general or particular 
intelligence he had collected from his extensive acquaintance and cor- 
respondence, which might animate our efforts and inspire a renewed 
zeal, he failed not to communicate with an excitement of spirit which 
kindled the ardour of others ; he left all timid and sordid calculations 
behind him ; and with a lofty faith in God, and a full reliance upon the 
persevering liberality of the friends of missions throughout the country, 
he fulfilled among us a mission like that of Moses to the Israelites when 
he was commanded to " speak unto the people that they go forward." 
To this great cause of God and man, his heart was uniformly true ; it 
engaged his warmest interests, and he might be said truly to care for 

Vol. I. 7 


it. His pious and judicious counsels to missionaries going abroad ; his 
affectionate conduct to those who had returned home after bearing the 
burden and heat of the day ; and the energy with which he often 
inspired large assemblies collected at missionary anniversaries, or at 
the formation of missionary societies in the country, were the fruits of 
this deep and earnest feeling, this pure desire that all mankind might 
know and glorify God their Saviour. 

Nor must we here omit to notice his great and praiseworthy exertions 
in the formation and support of that very extensive and blessed charity, 
the Stranger's Friend Society, which has been for so many years car- 
rying relief and consolation, and often salvation, into the darkest and 
deepest recesses of poverty and sorrow, in every district of this metro- 
polis ; and also his great exertions in the education of the poor by 
Sunday schools. His time and his contributions were largely employed 
in this great and benevolent work. He was treasurer of the West 
London Sunday School Society, which has between three and four 
thousand children in its schools ; and of these schools he was for 
twenty-live years a regular visiter and superintendent, constantly 
animating and cheering the committee and teachers in their exertions. 
Thousands of poor children have been indebted mainly to his exertions 
for being taught the principles of religion, and to read the Holy 

To these instances of his zeal must be added his general benevo- 
lence. The extent of his charities to the poor will not be fully known 
till that day which will make manifest the works of all men whether 
good or evil. That they were extensive, systematic, and enlarged, in 
proportion as Providence smiled upon his affairs, we all know. The 
poor he had indeed " always with him." Few men, probably, engaged 
n extensive concerns, however disposed to this onerous but profitable 
and important duty, have visited so many of the abodes of sorrow, sick- 
ness, and poverty ; none ever took to them a kinder heart, or a more 
liberal hand. His, too, were visits of piety as well as of mercy ; he 
was their instructor in the word of God, and their mouth to God in 
fervent intercessions. One day in the week he appointed to receive, 
at his own house, the applications of all who needed pecuniary relief, 
or advice and assistance in various exigencies. His servant was once 
asked how many petitioners of this kind he had on that particular day 
admitted, and his answer was, " Near a hundred." Into all these cases 
he entered, not merely to proportion relief, or to devise means for their 
mitigation, — he took the concerns of the poor, as it were, upon himself; 
entered into their various cases, and carried their burdens in his own 
sympathies ; as feeling conscientiously bound to do the work assigned 
him by his sense of duty with fidelity, and to make his charities at once 
discriminating and efficient. 

One of the characteristics of a good man, given by David, which is 
not very common even among the religious and benevolent, was exem- 
plified in him : " A good man showeth favour and lendeth." This 
species of charity he largely and disinterestedly exercised. It is one, 
we allow, which requires much prudence and skill to turn into a real 
benefit to the person favoured ; but in the hands of so practical a man 
it often became a mode of relief, which at once spared the feelings of 
the applicant, (a point on which he always manifested a most praise- 


worthy delicacy,) and often afforded the most permanent relief. Much was 
lent without any intention of repayment ; much, too, was never repaid, 
and the bounty was abused ; but in many instances these kindnesses 
proved a benefit, the fruits of which were at once grateful and permanent. 

It was in the spirit of this his characteristic benevolence, that the 
stranger in a strange land found in Mr. Butterworth a ready and often 
an effectual friend. His intercourse with foreigners was frequent and 
extensive. Where relief was necessary, it was given ; and where that 
was not needed, the hospitality of his table, his friendly counsel, his 
protection, or his assistance in accomplishing their various pursuits of 
business, literature, or curiosity, were afforded with a blandness of 
manner, and a warmth of interest, which have impressed upon the 
heart of many a foreigner sentiments highly favourable to the character 
of the country, and honourable to the Christian name. It was indeed 
in part with this view, as well as from the benevolence of his own 
nature, that he took a special interest in the concerns, and conferred 
favours upon many of these strangers. He felt anxious that the 
character of the country should not be tarnished abroad by relations of 
injuries, neglects, or defrauds, which those who might be cast into 
indiscriminate society were likely to sustain ; and he wished also that 
these foreigners should be introduced to the society of religious and 
philanthropic persons, and become acquainted with the benevolent, 
educational, and religious charities of our country, in the hope of pro- 
moting their personal benefit, of enlarging their views, and of transmit- 
ting through them some seeds of truth, some leaven of hallowing influ- 
ence, into their respective nations. The great interest which he took 
in some Persians, who a few years ago spent a considerable time in 
London, — in the Indian chiefs from Canada, who more recently came 
over on the concerns of their tribe, — and especially in many of the 
Spanish refugees now in town, was regulated greatly by this truly 
honourable and enlightened motive. 

Such are the reasons we have to " glorify God" in the religious 
experience, character, and conduct of the excellent person whose loss 
we have all so painfully felt. He honoured God, and God honoured 
him ; he " scattered abroad, and was increased ;" he was blessed and 
" made a blessing." If it be required of me to point out also his faults 
and defects, I profess to you that if I knew any thing of habitual and 
weighty faultiness and frailty which very strongly operated to counter- 
act the practical influence of the great excellencies which every day 
of his life exhibited, I should feel bound in conscience to state it, as 
matter of admonitory instruction. But I know of nothing which may 
not, on a right and as I think Scriptural interpretation, be resolved into 
infirmities, or aberrations rather of the judgment than of the heart. I 
have seen occasionally, but very occasionally, a little irritability under 
opposition ; I have seen a few instances of what I thought unfounded 
prejudices ; and an occasional hesitation of purpose when the opinions 
of those he respected were at variance. I have observed nothing 
more, and am not disposed to infer more. I am not one of those who 
indulge the notion that human nature, even under the renewing grace 
of God, must be so bad, that if faults be but keenly scented, they may 
in all cases be chased out of their lurking places, and exposed to the 
full cry of the hunters. We believe, rather, that God has cast " tho 


salt of healing into the corrupt waters" of man's nature, and that in 
every truly faithful man those waters are healed. That the healing 
process was extensive in the experience of our excellent friend, I have 
said enough to show. His heart was right with God, and his habits 
ever since I knew him those of a highly-matured Christian. " The 
work of God is honourable and glorious ;" and to the full extent in 
which he has wrought his work of grace and sanctity in any man, let 
him have " the glory due unto his name." Such, says the Apostle 
Paul, was the sentiment of the Churches of Judea, as to himself : " And 
they glorified God in me." 

I pass on, finally, to the public character which our departed friend 
for so many years sustained. 

Mr. Butterworth became a public man, not by the influence of splendid 
abilities or eloquence ; but by the force of character, strong natural 
talent, and almost unparalleled industry. As to that part of his public 
character which connects him with missionary societies, Bible societies, 
Sunday schools, and various other public institutions, little difference 
of opinion will exist among religious men. There is, it is true, "a 
world," to which all such men, and all such engagements, are objects 
of ridicule or malignant attack ; but " the world knoweth us not ;" and 
the charges of enthusiasm and fanaticism must now happily be so 
largely and honourably applied, that they can excite no sentiment but 
that of pity, — the weapons are feeble, and they are thrown by feeble 
arms. But when we enter into another field, the differences of opinion 
as to public men become more varied, and are influenced and chequered 
by multifarious interests and passions. How much every public man 
is liable to misrepresentation and unfounded censure, we all know. — 
This is a tax he must pay, in the present state of society, whatever his 
character may be, good or bad ; whether his motives be patriotic or 
selfish. But the truly Christian patriot will not escape so well as others ; 
for with all the hopes we may entertain of the advance of religious 
influence in our country, (and we have great reason to glorify God on 
this behalf,) we are not arrived at that state when the principles and 
claims of the Christianity of the Scriptures can be fully urged and 
advocated in the high places of society, and the seats of legislation, 
without exposing the men who fearlessly place themselves on this 
lofty ground, to a more than common share of rebuke. And yet we 
applaud our civil institutions, and .with reason ; but they are the results 
of a strict regard to the principles and spirit of our religion among our 
ancestors, which in these times would entitle their very founders, whom 
we profess to hold in admiration, to the sneering appellation of " saints," 
and the contemptuous badge of " fanatics." Had not the spirit as well 
as the name of religion acquired a deep hold upon the hearts and con- 
sciences of many of our ancient statesmen, they would not have struggled 
with so quenchless a heroism for those religious liberties on which 
mainly is built and secured the fortress of our civil freedom. And yet 
the infidelity or heartless Christianity of the day shall affect to turn 
with contempt upon those who would excite the same principles into 
activity, and who act upon them with the same serious conviction of 
their truth. " Ye hypocrites, ye build the tombs of the prophets ; and 
yet stone them that are sent unto you," in the same spirit and with the 
same commission. 


We may indeed look with gratitude, and even with admiration, upon 
the legislature of our country. It embodies in it more of honour, of 
integrity, of public spirit, of practical wisdom, than any body of similar 
functions in the world ; or, perhaps, taking its history from the begin- 
ning, than any other which ever existed ; and it comprehends men of 
a high and truly Christian character ; but the influence of Christianity 
upon it, as a whole, is to be considered rather as reflex than direct ; 
rather received from the country than emanating from itself. We dare 
not compromise truth so far as not to allow that it is, in many respects, 
far below its just standard, as the legislature of a nation professing the 
religion of the Bible. Who shall rise up in his place there, for instance, 
to propose to strengthen the laws against those fashionable murders, 
called duels, without hearing them defended on principles which scarcely 
an enlightened heathen would tolerate ? or to propose a stricter en- 
forcement of the Sutbbath of the Lord, without being branded as a 
Puritan? or to suppress our barbarous and brutalizing gladiatorial 
spectacles, without hearing them advocated as necessary to promote 
the courage and the character of a Christian populace ? or to plead 
the rights of animals to protection from cruelty, without being met by 
indifference or contempt ? And, to go to higher and graver subjects, 
can we forget the long and difficult struggle, even in a British legisla- 
ture, which it cost to abolish the traffic in slaves ; and the insults heaped 
upon the honoured men who at last achieved that victory of humanity 
and principle ? With what lingering and obstructed steps does the case 
of the colonial slave still drag itself onward into notice and advocacy ! 
Grant that this great cause makes progress ; yet, is it not humbling, 
deeply humbling, to us, that we, whose feet have been so " swift to 
shed blood," should be so slow to show mercy ? We might enlarge the 
instances ; but it is unnecessary. I have adverted to these topics, not 
to feed faction ; (for, under any form which politicians may give to the 
legislature of a country, it must always be the epitome and the reflect- 
ing mirror of the country's own moral state ;) but to remind you, that 
he who applies himself most diligently to infuse moral health into 
society is the highest patriot ; and that, even in this age and country, 
the man who engages in public affairs avowedly on Christian principles, 
must stand prepared to endure reproach for their sake. 

We grant, that characters comparatively undecided may often escape 
much of this, and that by compromises they do sometimes escape it. 
As many modern writers on science and philosophy evade the imputa- 
tion of acknowledging God in his works, by the convenient substitute 
of the word nature, whose wondrous operations they may extol without 
the hazard of being thought devotional ; so with these accommodating 
men, adroit circumlocutions, and an expert application of the style of 
a lower school, often serve them as. convenient hiding places, while 
they still satisfy their own consciences that they do not wholly forget 
the guiding principles of their religion ; and thus, by politic caution, 
and never approaching danger too near, they keep themselves from 
any strong suspicion of " saintliness." We have all observed this ; we 
have seen it carried, in some instances, disgustingly and treacherously 
far ; we have seen, for instance, men who have stood on the platforms 
of missionary and Bible societies, eloquently pleading there the cause, 
and painting the excellencies and the moral heroism of their respective 


agents ; and yet in their places in the legislature, voting with the 
stronger party, to stifle a just inquiry into the case of a persecuted 
and martyred missionary. 

But there have been, and still are, men in the British parliament of 
a firmer mould and a loftier bearing ; and deeply may we lament that 
age, infirmity, and the ravages of death, have of late been rapidly re- 
ducing the number. Our deceased friend was of this honourable band, 
though he acted with no party, small or great, on system, and, in the 
spirit of a true independence, followed the convictions of his own judg- 
ment. His parliamentary duties were reduced to the control of the 
same rule as the common course of his actions, — the fear of God. He 
never sought or received a favour in connection with this branch of his 
public life ; and as to the motives which led him to seek a place in 
parliament, we had his own testimony from the chair of the last annual 
meeting of our missionary society. The ambition of this distinction, 
in such a country as ours, is itself an honourable one ; but in him it 
was sanctified. His attention to this subject was first awakened by 
the proceedings on Lord Sidmouth's bill, which was so zealously re- 
sisted by the advocates of religious liberty through the kingdom, and 
to the defeating of which an active band of intelligent and prudent but 
zealous men with whom he was associated mainly contributed. It was 
suggested to his own mind by the reflections to which this affair led, 
that he might in that station probably do some service to the cause of 
religion and morality, and thus farther the best interests of society. — 
It was with this view, and not that of political distinction, that he 
entered upon that new scene ; and, though not by a splendid, yet by a 
most useful, course of exertion, he faithfully served his country in two 
parliaments. His loyalty, which in him was a Christian principle, led 
him to a general support of government in all cases where faction pressed 
upon it, or anarchy threatened the state ; but his love of civil and reli- 
gious liberty was equally ardent and immovable ; and he never betrayed 
his trust as a representative of the people by forsaking the standard of 
either. On several important committees, and especially on the edu- 
cation committee, his good sense and practical and diligent habits ren- 
dered him a very valuable member. His speeches in parliament were 
plain, but often very forcible ; and he was always heard with attention, 
except when the spirit of party was under some strong excitement, or 
when, by some manly attack upon the mischievous principles of 
modern liberalism, he had provoked the not over courteous, and some- 
times rude and heated, clamours of its partisans. He was not, how- 
ever, turned aside from his course of duty ; and if he had sometimes 
to meet the contempt of irreligious men, his frank and firm avowal of 
right principles, on some important occasions, called forth, on the con- 
trary, the acknowledgments of some of the most respectable members 
of the house. It is his just praise, that, as a member of parliament, he 
bore a consistent testimony to " the truth" on all subjects of religion, 
morals, and humanity, — a testimony unadulterated by policy, and un- 
warped by cowardice. 

It is matter of notoriety that he took an active and zealous part in 
parliament, in opposing the concession of political power to the Roman 
Catholics ; and that, not only by the part he took in the debates on that 
question, but by the communication of various facts obtained by his 


visits to Ireland, and his extensive correspondence with intelligent 
friends in that country, he made a deep impression upon the opinions 
of many upon this great and perplexing question. It is no part of my 
business here to give any judgment as to the soundness of his general 
views on a subject which has divided some of the wisest and most con- 
siderate men ; but it is my duty to state the motives from which he 
acted, because I have had the means of knowing them. 

His resistance to the Catholic claims did not arise, as it has been 
charged, from bigotry and intolerance. His generosity and kindness 
of spirit might alone be a sufficient presumption against that uncharita- 
ble conclusion. It arose, — whether his reasonings were right or wrong, 
is a question into which I enter not, — it arose from his very love of 
religious toleration and liberty, which he fully believed would in that 
degree be endangered in which the influence of popery should be ad- 
mitted to operate within the legislature of this country. There were 
in his mind, with respect to this question, no uncharitable feelings to- 
ward the Catholics ; but he viewed popery, — and in this, I think, all 
who rightly understand the subject must agree with him, — as a dan- 
gerous and destructive system oT spiritual imposture and wickedness, 
hostile at once to manliness of intellect, to public virtue, and to the 
souls of men. He abhorred the system, but not the men ; for his advo- 
cacy of education in Ireland, his zeal for the circulation of the Scrip- 
tures there, and many acts of a liberal beneficence, showed that his 
charity yearned over those who were immersed in its darkness, and 
inthralled in its superstitions. 

Nor was he the advocate of the principle of excluding men from 
civil privileges and honours on account of their religious sentiments ; 
but he thought that they had no title to claim a share in the adminis- 
tration of a free constitution like ours, whose very religion he conceived 
to be averse to the great principles of liberty on which it is founded ; 
and he admitted not for a moment the pretence that popery has changed 
its character ; for he saw the same principle of intolerance acted upon 
in all Catholic states as formerly, and had observed, in the late struggles 
in Ireland against the circulation of the word of God in any form, an 
avowed conspiracy among its priests and gentry, to rivet in perpetuity 
the chains of ignorance and degradation upon the people. 

Many admit all the premises laid down so strongly in the mind of 
our departed friend on this subject, and yet come to a different practical 
conclusion as to the general question itself. It is not my office to 
attempt, in this place, to judge between them ; but opposition to no 
measure could be more pure, and sincere, and conscientious in its prin- 
ciple, and less connected with hostile or unkindly feeling, than was 
that of Mr. Butterworth to the concession of legislative pow,er and 
influence to the members of this subtle and persecuting Church. 

On another great moral question I will say a few words, — the aboli- 
tion of negro slavery. To that system, disgraceful at once to religion 
and humanity, and still a blot and shade upon our national character, 
he was, from principle and from feeling, an enemy ; and though he 
differed at first, in a few respects, from some excellent persons, as to 
the mode to be pursued to promote its abolition, — a circumstance in 
which, I think, his over-caution somewhat misled him, — yet in this 
principle, which no Christian can abandon without being a traitor to 


his faith, that Christianity and the enslaving of men are utterly in- 
compatible, his heart was steadfast ; and he justly thought that the 
principles of our religion compelled us, as a nation, as we would have 
the blessing of Heaven, to adopt effectual means for the ultimate and 
total extinction of slavery throughout every part of the British empire. 

In the progress of this question, his heart was evidently more affected 
by it ; and some of us will not soon forget the solemn manner in which, 
at the last anniversary of the missionary society, at the City-Road 
chapel, after adverting to the difficulties which the parliamentary ad- 
vocates of the cause of our negro fellow subjects had to encounter, he 
called upon that large audience to join him in fervent prayer to almighty 
God, that they might be supported in their benevolent labours, and that 
their efforts might at length be crowned with the desired success. 

Nor must we forget, in the public life of our friend, his frequent and 
successful advocacy of the duty and real policy of encouraging the 
spread of Christianity in the colonies and foreign dependencies of Great 
Britain. He abhorred both the principle and the folly of attempting to 
strengthen bur political rule over those pagan nations whom God, in 
his providence, has placed under the British sceptre, by making a 
sacrifice of our duty as a Christian people to seek their conversion ; 
and he united cordially with those who wisely took their stand upon 
that higher and divinely-sanctioned principle, " Righteousness exalteth 
a nation " On this ground, of sanctifying our power, and making it 
felt in mercy, he advocated the throwing the shield of our protection 
over the widows of India, and the abolition of the murders of a fanatical 
idolatry. By his efforts, too, several persecuting laws, passed in dif- 
ferent colonies, were repealed ; and for the degree of religious liberty 
which now exists in many of them we are in no small degree indebted 
to his activity. In a word, scarcely has any subject involving the 
interests of public religion and public morals been agitated, for the last 
twenty years, in which he did not take some part, either by the liberal 
use of the press, or by connecting himself with various societies, or by 
his exertions in his place in parliament. 

I have thus endeavoured, however feebly, to pay a tribute of respect 
to the character of this excellent man. The last scene must now be 
adverted to. Mr. Butterworth had been for some time an invalid ; and 
within the last three years he had experienced some severe attacks of 
sickness. Few constitutions, indeed, though guarded by the strictest 
temperance, and upheld by the influence of a peaceful and cheerful 
mind, could maintain themselves against that excess of laborious occu- 
pation which he rather courted than evaded. He was one of those 
many instances which show that, through the feebleness of nature, he 
who will live for others must shorten his own life. He felt this ; but 
the ardour of his spirit urged him forward. Before his going to Dover 
on his canvass, he took a laborious excursion to Bath, Birmingham, 
and some neighbouring places, to preside in several missionary meet- 
ings. There were then evident marks of feebleness upon him ; feeble- 
ness of body, not of mind. His ardour in the cause of Christ was 
never more conspicuous ; his addresses on such occasions were never 
more exciting. The fatigues of the election at Dover do not appear 
to have been excessive ; nor did any chagrin at his failure there affect 
his equanimity or his cheerfulness. He regarded it as a providential 


dismissal from the more active duties of a public station ; and in his 
conversations with his friends immediately after his return, he antici- 
pated, with great satisfaction, the additional leisure he should have to 
devote, partly to reading and retirement, and partly to the promotion of 
religious and benevolent objects, and " especially," as he said, " to the 
great cause of missions." 

With respect to the contested election at Dover, it gave him satis- 
faction to reflect that he had not spent money to gratify the corrupt 
cupidity of the multitude ; and to two friends he emphatically said, 
after his return to town, " I thank God that, upon a review of the whole 
scene, I can say I have come out of it with a clear conscience." 
Mortification of spirit had no share in hastening his lamented end. 
He sunk, rather under the accumulated pressure of engagements upon 
a gradually-failing constitution, than by the force of any single event. 
The following account I have received from his friends : — 

" Important engagements called our lamented friend from home the 
last month, and fully occupied his time and attention. Before he 
returned home he had but little sleep for two nights ; and on the day 
he set off on his journey to Bedford-square, he experienced a consider- 
able degree of feebleness while travelling, accompanied by much 
languor of spirits. On his reaching his residence on the 22d of June, 
a little after ten in the evening, he took a light supper and retired to 
bed, but had little rest. The following morning medical advice was 
obtained, and in the evening sedatives were administered; but the 
desired effect did not follow. Sir Henry Halford was then called in, 
and afterward Dr. Warren ; and both of them continued their visits to 
him till within a few hours of his decease, which took place on Friday, 
June 30th, at seven o'clock in the evening, in the most tranquil 

" From the effects of the complaint with which it pleased Him who 
is infinite in wisdom to visit our beloved friend, he experienced from 
the first a great prostration of physical and mental strength, which 
rendered him incapable of expressing with accuracy the feelings of 
his mind, except in a few occasional intervals. In one of those 
moments of recollection, he spoke 01 the difference of ' knowing the 
great truths of the Gospel in the spirit, and in the letter only.' In 
another, he adverted to the subjects of death and eternity, and repeated 
the passage from St. Peter, ' One day is with the Lord as a thousand 
years, and a thousand years as one day.' And when a friend was 
reading to him, very slowly, some of the first verses of Psalm ciii, he 
took up many of the words with much interest, and repeated, with 
considerable feeling, ' Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and 
tender mercy.' To his coachman, whose attentions to his dying 
master were unwearied, he said, ' O, William, what is all the world to 
a man, unless he has an interest in Christ ? What are its grandeur 
and honours 1 I have passed through all ; and they are all nothing, 
and worse than nothing, if, with them, we have not God to rest upon !' 
— ' I renounce all for Christ !' " 

The following extract of a letter from a respectable gentleman at 
Dover, written on receiving the news of Mr. Butterworth's death, you 
will hear with interest : — 

" It would be impossible to describe to you the painful feelings of 


sorrow and regret which your letter, communicating the decease of our 
highly-esteemed and excellent friend, occasioned ; and were it not 
from a full persuasion that our loss is his eternal gain, the thought of 
his being now no more would quite overwhelm us. But why do I say 
no more, when he is enjoying a fulness of felicity with that Saviour 
whose cause he so ardently loved, and whose example he followed 
while on earth, and to promote whose glory, and to exercise good will 
to men, seemed to be the chief objects for which he wished to live ? 
May we imitate his bright example, and then we shall assuredly 'go 
to him,' though ' he will not return to us !' 

" Our friends, and very many of his late opponents, (whom he con- 
ciliated by his truly Christian conduct previous to his departure,) are 
testifying all the respect they possibly can to his memory ; and if you 
will favour me with a few lines, informing me of the day and hour of 
interment, as soon as it is fixed, I shall feel obliged ; as all those to 
whom I have alluded wish wholly to close their houses at that time, 
and to have the bells of the parish church muffled and tolled on the 
truly melancholy occasion. 

" As a member of parliament our excellent friend stood in the 
highest rank, combining, as he did, the great qualities of genuine in- 
dependence with true Christian principles. Indeed, I never expect 
to see his like again." 

The marks of respect, mentioned in this letter as intentional, were 
paid on the day of the funeral ; and the colours of the government 
packets, and other vessels in the harbour were hoisted half-mast high. 

And now I dismiss you. His immediate relatives would have been 
present with us, but for indisposition ; and I might then have felt 
bound to address a few words of solace and counsel to them. To you, 
my Christian friends, 1 only say, Remember the vanity and frailty of 
life, and prepare also to die. The end of the good man is peace ; but 
the expectation of the wicked shall be cut off. Let not the effects 
of this mournful occasion evaporate in unprofitable regrets, and be 
wiped away with your tears. Our brother " is not dead, but sleepeth ;" 
he is at rest with God. Aspire you to the same blessedness ; follow 
in the same path of faith, humility, meekness, charity, diligence, and 
patient enduring to the end. So to you, also, shall the summons be 
without dread ; and no bitter, hopeless tear shall fall upon your grave. 
The hand which was stretched upon the cross has expanded before us 
the bright and attractive scenes of a better state. There the righteous 
dead are in joy and felicity with him. Their number swells ; one 
happy and triumphant spirit after another is removed into the heavenly 
family ; they wait for you ; a parent, or a brother, or a friend waits for 
you; disappoint them not; put in your claim anew this day, through 
the merits of your Saviour, for this heavenly inheritance ; lay aside 
every weight ; walk as citizens of heaven ; and hasten on your course, 
nor tarry in all the plain, nor look behind you, till you enter that city 
of God, where death cannot follow you, and sorrow and sighing shall 
fly away. 


Sermon VII. — Qualifications for the Christian Ministry. 

Delivered at the Ordination of the Rev. John Bell, Jonathan Crowther, and others, 
at the Conference of Wesleyan Methodist Ministers, held in Manchester, 
August, 1827. 

My Brethren, — It is with unaffected diffidence that I appear 
before you on this solemn occasion, to offer to you advices and 
observations upon that sacred office to which you were yesterday set 
apart. I am conscious of great unfitness for this task. I know with 
what superior wisdom, with how much greater impressiveness you 
might have been reminded of the import and extent of those obliga- 
tions which you have taken upon you, by many who now surround me : 
but, since this service, anxious as the performance of it is to my own 
mind, has devolved upon me officially, I address myself to it in de- 
pendence upon that help which our common Master has graciously 
promised to his servants, in all those departments of duty to which 
they may be called in his name, and by his Church. I am encouraged 
also to rely upon your humility to receive with " readiness of mind" 
what I may be enabled to offer to your consideration, so far as you find 
it sanctioned and confirmed by the pure word of God. 

The words on which I propose to ground the remarks and counsels 
which I am appointed to address to you, are those of St. Paul to 
Timothy, " his own son in the Gospel," in his second epistle to that 
distinguished evangelist : — 

" For God hath not given us the spirit of fear ; but of power, and 
of love, and of a sound mind." 

These words, in a large interpretation, may be considered as de- 
scribing the religious state of every true Christian. In their primary 
and proper sense, however, they describe the endowments of the 
Christian minister. Of this you will see sufficient proof, by merely 
connecting them with the context : " Wherefore I put thee in re- 
membrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the 
putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear ; 
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou there- 
fore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner : 
but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the 
power of God." Such, then, is the necessary furniture of him who 
serves the sanctuary under the evangelic dispensation ; such the pre- 
paration he must receive from Heaven, and under the influence of 
which he must live, if he would " make full proof of his ministry :" 
for of himself and of the primitive preachers of the Gospel, in their 
special character as " ministers of the New Testament," the apostle 
speaks. The terms used to express these qualifications are, indeed, 
of deep and comprehensive import ; but whatever they imply, however 
rich and rare the qualities which they exhibit, whether taken separately 
or in combination, it is your hope and comfort that they are spoken 
of as the " gift" of God ; he is the source of them ; and because they 
are his " gift," they are, by that very circumstance, rendered attainable 
by you, if you ask them in the earnestness of that spirit of prayer 
which is animated by desire, and rendered prevalent by faith. 


To these endowments I call your attention, in the order of the words 
to which I have referred. 

I. The first is courage. " God hath not given to us the spirit of 
fear, but of power," of virtue, of courage, as opposed to timidity and 
cowardice ; from which we learn, that courage, such courage only as 
is inspired by God into the hearts of his servants, is an essential 
element in the character of a minister of Christ ; an essential qualifi- 
cation for the due and full discharge of the duties of his vocation. A 
few remarks may serve to impress this consideration upon your minds. 
1. The true and faithful minister of Christ, in whatever Church he 
may be found, and in whatever station he may be placed, must, so 
long as there is a " world which lieth in wickedness," bear the reproach 
of that world. It is a moral fact, which might well surprise a person 
unacquainted with human nature, and which would, indeed, greatly 
perplex an advocate of the doctrine of the natural innocence of man 
to account for, — that nothing but such courage as only the inspiration 
of Heaven can supply should be a necessary qualification for those 
who preach the Gospel of our Saviour. The world needs religious 
truth ; it has often confessed that it needs it ; it is their office to bring 
it bright and unclouded from the Source of light himself. They come 
forth also as the messengers of mercy, the heralds of peace, the 
" ministers of reconciliation" between God and man ; yet fact has 
proved that the world has no heart for the heavenly intelligence they 
bring ; that if the objects of their ministry make any progress, it is in 
opposition to apathy and contempt, to enmity, and often to persecution ; 
and that circumstances are continually occurring in which courage is 
not less necessary to them, than to those who encounter the storms of 
the ocean, and the struggles of battle. What can more certainly 
demonstrate that " the carnal mind is enmity against God ;" and that 
" men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil ?" 
Of this enmity and contempt every part of the world to which the 
Gospel has come has exhibited instances ; and every minister of 
Christ has been the object of them. The inspiration of apostles was 
no protection from the expression of this feeling. When St. Paul 
preached at Athens, those who spent their time in hearing and telling 
some new thing could not hear this new thing with patience or cour- 
tesy ; and the accents of heavenly wisdom, even from his lips, were 
pronounced " babbling." Neither learning nor eloquence, any more 
than plainness and simplicity, has disarmed this hostility ; and wherever 
the religion of Christ is nominally received, the case is only circum- 
stantially altered. One external form of religion does not differ so much 
from another, as that Scriptural and vital Christianity which you must 
teach, from that theory of the doctrine of Christ which is received by 
" men of the world." If you teach the repentance of a broken heart, 
the faith which excludes self righteousness, the comforting and renew- 
ing influences of the Holy Spirit, the life and walk of faith and love, 
the completeness and perfection of our subjection to the law of Christ 
in all inward and outward holiness, you cannot escape the imputation 
of fanaticism. The light you kindle will be an offensive glare, and 
your zeal will be obtrusive and irritating. All other professions and 
vocations have their degrees of credit and honour, — yours has none 
but among those over whose hearts and consciences God may make 


your word victorious. I warn you of this, that you may not " marvel 
if the world hate you." I warn you of it, that you may feel that it is 
a case which cannot be altered ; and that so you may never indulge in 
experiments to gain credit among worldly men. The friendship of 
the world cannot be attained by the faithful minister of Christ, except 
by treacherous compromises of truth and duty ; at which you, we trust, 
will always shudder. Ask of God then the Spirit " of power," that 
you may never be " ashamed of the testimony of our Lord." Be " all 
things" innocently " to all men, that you may gain some." " Give no 
offence to Jew or Gentile ;" but as to the burden of contempt which 
you must bear for the sake of Christ your Master, and for his reproving 
doctrine, say with courage, " Let us go forth therefore unto him with- 
out the camp, bearing his reproach." 

2. This spirit will sometimes be called into trial by occurrences in 
the Church, as well as by the settled enmity and hostility of the 

It is your felicity to be now introduced into the ministry of God's 
word among a people who will generally regard you with confidence 
and affection, just in proportion as you faithfully teach and enforce 
" the truth which is according to godliness ;" and firmly uphold that 
holy system of discipline with which you are also entrusted : the 
greater, therefore, would be your guilt, the more unpalliated your offence, 
were you to betray them in either. But it must not be disguised, that 
the purest Churches have their unsanctified members, and that in others, 
not entirely without gracious influence, there are constant tendencies 
to an earthly temper, to party spirit, to self will, and to violations of 
Christian order. Let it then be remembered, that in the faithful dis- 
charge of the ministry now confided to you, you must often be the 
messengers of unwelcome tidings ; of admonitions which will rouse 
the pride, and of reproofs which will awaken the slumbering enmity 
of a lukewarm mind. If you therefore anticipate a constantly calm 
and unruffled course, your disappointment will be the more poignant, 
and will place your consciences in circumstances of hazard, in pro- 
portion as you are not prepared for it. Will the earthly-minded pro- 
fessor of a heavenly religion hear you urge it upon him from time to 
time, " in season and out of season," that he " be not conformed to this 
world ?" Will the man who evaporates the spirit of a religion which 
is not " in word only, but in power," into cold and inefficient compliances 
with the forms of duty, hear you challenge him with " drawing near 
to God with his lips, while his heart is far from him V Will he who 
talks of being " led by the Spirit," but brings forth no fruits of the 
Spirit, no meekness, lowliness, and charity, hear from you that he is 
still " in the flesh," whatever his profession of faith or feeling may 
be, and that he " cannot therefore please God V Will the whited wall 
or painted sepulchre see all its inward corruption disclosed by your 
searching investigations, and all its gaudy and deceptive decoration 
placed in disgusting contrast to the pollutions within 1 Finally ; will 
those whose obedience to the morality of the Gospel is lax and unsteady, 
hear you " reason on righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to 
come," on the obligations of charity, peaceableness, loyalty, the social 
and the relative duties 1 and yet, in any of these cases, will those who 
are convinced, but who, as it often happens, still remain uncorrected, 


love you for your fidelity 1 or think that the hand which presses so 
hard upon their consciences is the hand of kindness 1 No man who 
is resolved to live in his sins ever yet loved the minister by whom 
that particular sin or habit to which he is addicted is disturbed. It 
was not to give us a view of individual character that a king of Israel 
is introduced, exclaiming at the sight of a prophet, " Hast thou found 
me, O mine enemy !" What is Ahab to us, but as Ahab's heart is the 
picture of every heart, which, under the influence of its corrupt 
passions, strives against truth and conviction, against God and his 
messengers 1 You will prove that this is no insulated and individual 
case ; an incident only in ancient history ; or which can occur only 
in some age of extreme corruption, or in the life of some individual 
of desperate character. The mirror is here held up to our fallen 
nature, and the secret breathing of many a heart, if not the express 
language of proud and contemptuous lips, will be, as to you, in the 
earnest, pointed, and restless fidelity of your administration of the holy 
doctrine of Christ, " Hast thou found me, O mine enemy ?" 

The same may be said of Christian discipline. There are circum- 
stances in which you will no more maintain the discipline of Christ 
without offence, than you will be able to publish and enforce his doc- 
trine. The discipline of most Churches was framed, at least in its 
leading and characteristic parts, in the days of their simplicity ; in 
their first love ; when their respect to the authority of Scripture was 
most implicit ; when the spiritual ends of their union and fellowship 
were most clearly apprehended ; and when this great principle was 
best understood and most faithfully acted upon, that to bring the world 
into the Church in any other mode than by a true conversion of men 
from its temper and practice, were only to convert the Church into the 
world, to break down the " hedges thereof," and to make the narrow 
way wide and fatal as the gate of death. So long therefore as this 
spirit continues to actuate any religious society, its discipline will be 
maintained with ease, and the most cautious and zealous of its ministers 
will command most of its respect and confidence. But the worldly 
spirit is opposed to these restraints, and sighs for greater latitude. — • 
Just as this may prevail in the temper of individuals, or in separate 
portions of a religious society, the inclination will discover itself to 
" remove the ancient land-marks ;" the bearing then will be against the 
barrier which distinguishes the Church from the world ; or, as a factious 
and obtrusive spirit may arise, against the different branches of godly 
order and pastoral authority. It is here, I foretell to you, that your 
courage will be often and painfully put to the test ; and happy for you, 
if you obtain grace to be undeviatingly faithful. But, that you may 
be clothed with the armour of righteousness both " on the right hand 
and on the left," I also remind you, that this courage is godly courage ; 
a temper of mind which the words before us declare to be " the gift" 
of God ; a grace therefore from heaven, which will always be known 
by its celestial stamp and character. It is not self will; not the 
offspring of pride, or of prejudice ; " the Spirit of power" comes from 
the same source as " the Spirit of meekness" and gentleness ; it is 
attained by the same fervency of prayer ; it is nurtured by the same 
fellowship with God ; nor can it exist independent of the continual 
influence of the " God of all grace." As to doctrine, it will teach you 


to " speak the truth in love ;" and as to discipline, if your courage be 
a fruit of the Spirit, it will be wise, careful, and undisturbed by bois- 
terous and headlong passions : and when your brethren shall put into 
your hands'the rod and the crook of those superior pastorships to which 
in course of service you will attain, if this endowment be yours, the 
arm with which you wield them will be all animate with charity and 
tenderness, and subject, in all its movements, to the control of a discreet 
mind, and the direction of a pure intention. 

3. The " courage" which is here made one of the leading qualifica- 
tions of the minister of Christ will be called into exercise by the 
difficulties and dangers incident to his office, and which are always, in 
some degree, inseparable from it. 

When St. Paul, writing to Timothy, would express, by a figure of 
speech, the nature of the service into which he had entered, he brings 
not his illustration from the peacefulness and quiet of civil life, but 
from the military profession ; and bids him " endure hardness as a 
good soldier of Jesus Christ." Thus he supposes labours and dangers, 
yes, and the possible sacrifice of life also, as involved in the service 
of " an evangelist ;" and a courage sufficient to meet all these, as one 
of his indispensable qualifications. Nor would a soldier unprepared 
for marches, watchings, toils, and hazards be a greater anomaly than a 
minister of Christ who should look for an entire exemption from them. 
Difficulties and labours, I know that you, my brethren, must have ; for 
it is in the very nature of our toilsome and busy itinerancy to lay them 
upon you. Sacrifices of health and of life, I trust, you may not be 
called to make ; and we all pray, that, instead of " the residue of your 
days being cut off," as in the case of several we have had lately to 
deplore, you may long live to preach that truth the vitality of which 
you have experienced, and long keep your rank as " the ministers of 
God for good" to that society into which you have been called. But 
we know not what may be in reserve for you, nor to what dangers, 
either at home or abroad, our extended work may expose you. It is 
my duty, therefore, to fix the principle of the apostle firmly in your 
minds, that it may support the spirit of self sacrifice in all its length 
and breadth, however you may be called to exercise it. That principle 
is, that even health and life are among the offerings which you have 
laid upon the altar in your solemn vows on this occasion, and conse- 
crated to your Saviour. As the soldier gives up these to his sovereign, 
so, as to you, they are no longer yours, but Christ's. True, the soldier 
may legally and loyally take care of both, provided he does so con- 
sistently with his duty ; but his only rule is, " to please him who hath 
called him to be a soldier ;" to do the will of his sovereign, not his 
own. Such is your state of separation and devotedness to another 
Lord. You are his in a sense eminent and peculiar ; and your sur- 
render of yourselves to him must be absolute in body, soul, and spirit. 
You may be called, as your fathers were, to meet mobs of base and 
brutal men, in carrying into some rude and neglected districts of your 
own country the light of the Gospel of your Saviour. Of their holy 
" courage" you are this day the fruits. You owe to it your own souls ; 
and you will not therefore shrink from the milder struggle which still 
remains in many places to be accomplished, nor cowardly turn from a 
track of service marked so strongly with the recent footsteps of these 


heroic examples. You may be called, in the course of your ministry, 
to brave the risk of contagion and fever, in visiting and comforting 
the afflicted members of your charge ; and in such cases you will 
remember that " the vows of your God are upon you." You may also 
have reason to apprehend that the activity of your exertions may shorten 
life ; but if you are clear in your call of duty, wo to you if you " do 
the work of the Lord negligently." How often, in such cases, have 
those words of our Lord been, even in this world, accomplished : 
" For whosoever will save his life shall lose it ; and whosoever shall 
lose his hfe, for my sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it!" 
You may be called, as, indeed, some of you have already been called, 
to launch forth upon the mighty deep ; and, in insalubrious climates, 
and amidst the dangers incident to foreign travel and residence, and 
among a barbarous people, to preach the Gospel of Christ. You who 
have so nobly answered to this call already, and who, young as some 
of you are, stand before us this day as men who have cheerfully 
" hazarded your lives for the Lord Jesus," are the delightful pledge to 
us, that the same courage will not be wanting to any of you, should 
the same hand beckon you to similar fields of danger ; that, in the 
assurance of a faith which recognizes the issues of life and death as 
placed far above the control of chance and earthly accidents, and 
rejoicing to know that He who holds " the stars," " the angels" of his 
Churches, " in his right hand," will never suffer their light to be 
quenched in the shades of death by any lower behest than his own, 
you will say, " Here am I, send me." Some of you may even be 
martyrs for your Saviour and for his truth. Why should I not put this 
also among the possibilities which lie before you? The Church, so 
long as she extends her efforts into conquered heathen countries, united 
to our own by colonial relations, employs her messengers, and preaches 
her doctrine, under the shelter of that protection which a liberal and 
tolerant government throws around all its subjects ; but these are not 
the boundaries of her zeal, and beyond them she is now despatching, 
in different directions, her apostles and evangelists to brave the perse- 
cuting wrath of pagan and Mohammedan powers, the enthroned guardians 
of the " darkness of this world." My brethren, should any of you, in 
those uncertain travels to which your charity for the souls of men may 
impel you, be called to lay down your lives as witnesses of His truth, 
who laid down his life for you, can we admit the thought that you 
would shrink and betray the ark and the covenant of your God ? 
Certainly not, if you are endowed with this gift of God, this " spirit 
of power," of which the apostle here speaks. Had there been nothing 
in man but what is of man, the Church would never have had its con- 
fessors unto death ; but if the spirit of martyrdom be of God, the 
Church shall never want its witnesses, when the case demands the 
sacrifice, to the end of time. Such was the lofty spirit of courage 
with which God endowed the apostles and evangelists of primitive 
times ; and with that same spirit, in answer to your fervent prayers, 
he will endow you ; — a courage equal to every occasion, rising with 
every difficulty, and which, beating in your hearts of zeal and charity, 
will repeat, through every moment of your future life, the vows you 
now make in his presence, and lead you to consecrate all you are, and 
all you can do or suffer, to his blessed and beloved service. 


II. The second of the endowments of the Christian minister men- 
tioned in the text is the spirit of love. 

Here also, my brethren, I must remind you, that this, as well as the 
spirit of power, is " the gift of God :" that' charity which is to qualify 
you for your work, if you are ever evangelically prepared for it ; that 
mighty principle which is to glow in your hearts, and animate and 
effectuate all your services, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Were you 
directed to seek it from man, from education, from emulation, from 
personal culture, you might despair of attaining it ; but it is one of the 
"good and perfect gifts" which are " from above:" if has a fulness, 
therefore, into which your most enlarged affections may expand ; it is 
a " grace" in which you may always " grow." 

That this love is not mere susceptibility of natural temperament, not 
the benevolence of education and imitation, (though both have their 
effect in softening the harshness of natural temper,) may appear from 
the very character we have already described ; for of this character 
love is also made an attribute. What character is this ? It is one, not 
only insensible to reproach, but which glories in it ; it is not only 
unyielding to the whole world, but is ceaselessly aggressive upon it; 
one which thinks no labour hard ; which shrinks from no suffering ; 
which can make no compromise ; which can respect no form or mode 
uncongenial to the spirit of the Gospel ; which can hide no truth, how- 
ever offensive ; which death, in its most terrific forms, cannot turn 
from its steady and bent purpose. In viewing this array of the sterner 
virtues, we seem to see rising -before us one of the ancient prophets 
reproving the kings, and defying the nobles, of apostatizing Judah ; or 
that " same John who had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern 
girdle about his loins, 1 ' seeking the solitudes of the desert, and only 
issuing from them with awful accents to warn men " to flee from the 
wrath to come." But we mistake : these were not the prototypes of 
the Christian minister ; for in him must meet also the meekness and 
" gentleness of Christ." The union of qualities so opposite shows that 
both are of God ; for if the unbending firmness and rigour of this 
character were of nature, the softness, the tenderness of this " love" 
could not co-exist with it ; nature never formed such a combination : it 
is from the hand of God, in whose work strange extremes often meet 
and harmonize. We see it here, — the charity softens the sternness of 
the courage, and is itself upheld and corroborated by the force of 
unyielding principle, and the deep and uneradicable sense of duty. 

We may infer the celestial inspiration of this warm and inciting charity 
also from the circumstance, that it is held forth as an essential qualifica- 
tion of all ministers without exception. Into that office God calls men 
of every variety of natural temperament ; the cold, the apathetic, and 
the rugged, as well as the bland, and mild, and pitiful, by original con- 
stitution. Yet here no exception is made, either as to the principle, 
or the measure of it ; " for God hath not given to us the spirit of fear, 
but of power and of love." It is " the love of God shed abroad in the 
heart by the Holy Ghost given unto us :" it kindles, therefore, coldness 
itself into ardour, and transforms the affections of even a rude nature, 
as fire transmutes the most rigid elements into its own expansive, elastic, 
vivid substance. We see an example in St. Paul himself. Was he a 
man constitutionally mild, compassionate, benevolent ? He was the 

Vol. I. 8 


reverse of each. What he was by nature, his own acts declare : his 
heart yielded to no relentings ; his eye was tearless. He was an 
obdurate and merciless bigot, who could hale " men and women" to 
prison and to death ; who, to use the fearfully-descriptive language of 
St. Luke, " breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disci- 
ples of the Lord." How truly, then, did he say, " By the grace of God 
I am what I am ;" when he could " weep with those that weep ;" when, 
with boundless benevolence, he panted to fill the whole world with the 
sound of his Saviour's name, and rejoiced to " endure all things for the 
elect's sake, that they might obtain the salvation which is in Christ 
Jesus with eternal glory !" 

When this apostle says, " The love of Christ constraineth us ; because 
we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead ;" he opens 
to us the mystery of this work of God in the heart ; this secret spring 
of the tenderness, the ardour, the long suffering, of the evangelical 
ministry. By " the love of Christ," he may mean, in the lowest sense, 
love to Christ in return for his boundless love to us. We have known 
the terror of the Lord in our own awakenings ; and, having felt thn 
power of that love which rescued us from " so great a death" as that 
which we feared, and to which we felt ourselves to be justly liable, we 
are anxious to spread his name, to proclaim his honours, and to bring 
a reconciled world to submit to his dominion, and to augment the 
revenue of his praise. Or by "the love of Christ." may be meant a 
love emulous of His who came into the world " to seek and to save that 
which was lost ;" a love excited and inflamed by those views of the 
extremity of man's condition which the circumstance that he was so 
loved by Christ unfolds. " We thus judge, that if one died for all," if 
the Son of God himself were incarnated, that he might shed his own 
most precious blood as the price of man's redemption and rescue, " then 
were all dead ;" and, impressed with these solemn views of the evil of 
sin, and of that extreme danger which such love on the part of Christ 
implies, the appeal to our hearts becomes irresistible ; for the case is 
one of life or death, of salvation or an eternal exclusion from God. — 
Both these senses of the phrase imply a state and exercise of the 
affections which can result only from supernatural influence ; for through 
this only can we show a generous gratitude to Christ, by caring for his 
glory ; or so realize the depths of that danger to which men who are 
" dead" are exposed, as to feel thus painfully and restlessly concerned 
for their salvation. But the full interpretation of the passage includes 
another idea. " The love of Christ constraineth us ;" the same principle 
of active, pitying charity is imparted from him to us, by virtue of our 
vital union with him ; a stream gushing from and fed by that exhaust- 
less fountain ; a tide setting in from the ocean of his infinite love, and 
" bearing us away" to the duties of our office. It is thus that we reach 
the origin of that affection which the apostle here joins with " courage," 
and exhibits as an essential qualification of all who are inducted into 
this ministry by the authority of Heaven. It is from God, and from 
him through our faith, and that consequent fellowship with God which 
faith, always hanging upon God, supplies and establishes : " He that 
dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." It is not nature ; 
it is not sentimentality ; it is the inspiration of celestial, heaven-born 
love, pure and vital from its own fountain, " the love of Christ :" the 


same love that clothed Deity with flesh, made him a sufferer, bowed 
his head upon a cross, and then exalted him to be at once a " faithful" 
and a " compassionate" High Priest and Intercessor for the Church 
and for the world. 

Such is the source from which you must derive this principle ; and 
that you may neither mistake some counterfeit feeling for one which is 
to you so essential, that without it, though you could " speak with the 
tongues of men and of angels, you would become as sounding brass or 
a tinkling cymbal," mark the nature and range of its hallowed and bene- 
ficent operation. 

It is disinterested. Inspired by this love, you will be able in truth 
to say to all to whom you minister, " We seek not yours, but you ;" 
not your favours, not your praise ; but you yourselves, your souls, and 
the security of their immortal interests. We can aim at nothing more ; 
we can be satisfied with nothing less : and all beside, whether kindness, 
friendship, or honour, is to us less than nothing and vanity. 

It is without partiality. The priests of false religion in all ages have 
either created or recognized distinctions among men, inconsistent, not 
only with charity, but with humanity and justice ; and have thus fostered 
those passions in the human heart, pride on the one part, and an envious 
enmity on the other, which it is the office of true religion to destroy. 
In proportion as Christianity has been corrupted, this repulsive and 
unhallowed character of paganism has always made itself in the same 
degree conspicuous ; and the equal aspect of its charity to the souls 
of men has been thus distorted. The Christian priest recognizes in 
civil life the distinction of ranks and orders of men : " Honour to whom 
honour, fear to whom fear," is one of the most explicit precepts of the 
religion he is appointed to teach to others, and to exemplify in his own 
spirit and conduct ; but in the exercise of his solemn office, as " an 
ambassador for Christ," the spirit of universal "love" with which his 
heart is touched annihilates all the distinctions of this life, and views 
man, stripped of the circumstances of external distinction, whether 
splendid or sordid, only under his relations to God and eternity ; wan- 
dering in a darkness which he is to disperse by instruction ; asleep in 
a delusion which his warning voice must dissipate ; needing a salvation 
of which he is to explain the nature, and lay down the terms ; labour- 
ing under sorrows and griefs, of which he has the healing emollient ; 
a pilgrim to the skies, whose steps he is appointed to guide. Be the 
full inspiration of this restless, undiscriminating charity yours ! The 
first lesson taught by Christ to St. Peter, when he received his com- 
mission to open the gates of the kingdom of heaven to the Gentiles, 
was, that, to a Christian minister, no man is " common or unclean." — 
Whenever, then, you see a human soul, fix upon it as the proper subject 
of your anxious care, whatever may be the circumstances of that " out- 
ward man" in which it is appointed to pass its sojourn, and to undergo 
its probation upon earth. In the exercise of this your ministry, view 
man as man, the creature of your God, the care of his providence, 
bought by the agonies of your Saviour's passion, capable of his favour, 
cared for in heaven, and having his part in the constant intercession of 
the common Mediator. Let this " love of Christ constrain" you ; " take 
heed that ye despise not one of these little ones ;" follow the meanest 
of his sheep into the wilderness, " lay it on your shoulders, and bring 


it home rejoicing." To win a soul is your noblest prize ; and the 
greater number you win, the brighter and richer will be that " crown 
of rejoicing," which you will wear in the day of the Lord. 

It is generous. It spurns a narrow bigotry. The Christian minister 
is required by the apostle to be a " lover of good men ;" and names and 
differences not affecting the essence of Christianity cannot limit this 
injunction. It has been at once the shame and the injury of the Church 
of Christ, that it has been so little regarded. How far, after all the 
profession of a more generous liberality of late, this charity has advanced 
in influence, it is not for me to say : this only I would enjoin upon 
you, that you regard the cultivation of this spirit as a serious duty ; 
that you guard your own hearts against every contrary sentiment ; and 
that, in the language of one of your vows at your ordination yesterday, 
" you endeavour to maintain and set forward, as much as lieth in you, 
quietness, peace, and love among all Christian people." That form of 
Christianity you profess inay serve to enforce this upon you. One of 
the characters of genuine VVesleyan Methodism is, that it is abhorrent 
of the spirit of sectarianism. It meets all upon the common ground of 
" loving the Lord Jesus in sincerity ;" its sole object is, to revive and 
extend Scriptural Christianity in all Churches, and in the world ; it 
teaches us to place religion, not in forms or opinions oirly, but in a 
renewed nature, and especially in the Christian temper ; and the wri- 
tings of its venerable founder are, more than those of any modern divine, 
imbued with that warm and expansive affection, " the love of the bre- 
thren," which our Lord made the distinguishing mark of genuine disci- 
pleship. Others have dwelt upon this as a grace, he enforces it as a 
virtue ; others have displayed it as an ornament of the Christian 
character, he has made it an essential of practical piety. He did this 
in an age when much less of the show, and perhaps much less of the 
spirit, of genuine liberality and kindness among persons of different 
opinions, existed than at the present. Be it yours, then, to take the 
full impress of his writings and example ; to convert whatever there 
may be of the mere exhibition of this sacred affection in the present 
age into reality ; to avoid the spurious affectation, and to cultivate the 
truth, of charity ; to love all who love your Saviour, " not in word only, 
but in deed and in truth ;" and to account all those as your brethren, 
whom God condescends to acknowledge as his children. 

It is universal. It bounds not itself; it is the "love of Christ," 
which knows no limits but the race itself. It was this expansive spirit 
which carried the first preachers beyond the bounds of Judea, and which 
is now the spring of all those efforts that are extending the knowledge 
of Christ to the ends of the earth. This spirit, as to the first disciples, 
came down with the pentecostal fire, and then kindled a zeal to fulfil 
their Lord's commission, " Go into all the \rorld, and preach the Gospel 
to every creature ;" which prepared them to bound over the pale of the 
Jewish Church, as soon as special calls by angelic visions, or the indica- 
tion of significant circumstances, or broad and open opportunities, 
showed that the time of exertion was come, and pointed out its direc- 
tion. It is perfectly gratuitous to suppose that the disciples, after their 
baptism by the Holy Spirit, were indifferent to this work of charitv 
until they were driven out of Judea by persecution. The spirit was 
there ; but in that age of special direction they waited for the signal 


from heaven ; and when it was given, the motto which a boundless pity 
for the world, springing from the love of God " shed abroad in their 
hearts," emblazoned on their sacred standards was, " To make all men 
see what is the fellowship of the mystery which, from the beginning 
of the world, hath been hid in God." Such, my brethren, will be this 
heavenly affection in you ; for though you may for the most part be 
appointed to fields of domestic labour, it will teach you that the work 
of encouraging and aiding all missionary efforts is no inconsiderable 
part of your public duty ; you will lead up the charity and the liberality 
of the Church in this sacred cause ; and you will be the patrons and 
friends of those whom she may send forth as her heralds to " prepare 
the way of the Lord" in the distant deserts of pagan and Mohammedan 
nations. No geographical boundary, no natural or artificial distinction, 
not the colour of the skin, no lowliness or bondage of condition, can 
stand before this " love." Mountains sink, rivers and seas dry up, 
colours fade away, and the clank of the chain of slavery sounds no note 
of degradation, before that one glorious declaration of the " love" which 
commissions, and the "love" which inspires you, if you have received 
this great " gift" of God, — " There is neither Greek nor Jew, barbarian, 
Scythian, bond nor free ; but Christ is all, and in all." 

It is condescending. " It minds not high things, but condescends to 
men of low estate." It not only " suffers the little children to come 
unto Christ, and forbids them not," but delights to instruct them in his 
religion, to encourage early piety, and to place them " in his arms, that 
he may bless them." It is moved by the cry of poverty, and the call 
of sickness ; and it hastens to relieve and comfort both ; it " comes 
down like rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth." 
It enters into every state, and sympathizes with every condition : 
" Who is weak, and I am not weak ? Who is offended, and I burn 
not ?" 

It is careful. Care is the offspring of love ; and the tenderness and 
patience of its anxieties are in proportion to its own ardour. It was 
this which made " the care of the Churches daily" St. Paul's heaviest 
burden. If you know how to love your work, you will know how to 
care for it. The performance of a given course and quantum of duty 
will not then suffice. You will care for the success which may follow ; 
for the preservation of the good which may dawn as the twilight, and 
shoot forth as the tender blade, easily obscured or quickly blighted. — 
You will care for the peace, purity, and growth of the societies com- 
mitted to your charge, lest errors should mislead, or the spirit of the 
world wither them ; lest any should " fail of the grace of God ;" lest 
you should " run in vain, and labour in vain." 

Lastly. It is unwearied. The ministry is not, as it is sometimes 
termed, " one of the professions ;" which implies that it may be laid 
down or taken up at pleasure or convenience ; Or that, having been 
pursued in our more active years, we may in infirmity and. age retire 
from its cares, and discharge ourselves from its obligations. It is not 
a profession, but a vocation ; a vocation from heaven, which, if ever 
truly given, lays a " necessity upon you" that you " preach the Gos- 
pel." It is now, therefore, to be regarded as the business of your life, 
to which you are to devote yourselves to the exclusion of all other 
cares and studies. Infirmities, age, and the judgment of your brethren, 


may limit or change the sphere in which you act ; but if the spirit of 
your ministry continue with you, you will fill up the entire space which 
may be allotted you : while breath shall remain to minister in public or 
in private the word of reconciliation, this " love" which knows no age, 
and never dies, shall still attune your voice to the sweetest sound which 
human lips can pour into a human ear, — and never so sweet as when 
age and the authority of character enforce it, — " Behold the Lamb of 
God, which taketh away the sin of the world." 

III. The third ministerial endowment enumerated in the text is, " a 
sound mind." " For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of 
power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 

The word is often rendered " a sober mind," or, " the spirit of sobri- 
ety ;" but the sobriety meant is not that which controls the corporeal 
appetites, but that which regulates the mind ; and it imports both a 
well-furnished and a well-arranged and balanced intellect ; qualifying 
the minister of Christ to communicate instruction with clearness and 
judgment, and rendering him, as St. Paul elsewhere expresses it, " apt 
to teach." This also is spoken of in the words before us, as one of 
those special " gifts" of God by which he qualifies his servants for their 
holy office ; and we are, therefore, not to understand by it, that natural 
intellectual fitness which, though found in all those whom God selects 
as his instruments, and is the basis of this special gift, does not, from 
being a mere natural quality, reach so high as that " gift" which you 
are taught in the text to expect from the grace of Christ : nor, enriched 
as your understandings will be by his blessing upon the exercise of 
your minds in study, and by " giving attendance to reading ;" and strong 
as may be that stamp of sobriety which a strict and constant course of 
mental discipline may give to them, — will either of these comprehend 
fully that " soundness of mind" of which the text speaks. It includes 
both ; and it is in such exercises, rightfully and prayerfully directed, 
that the higher degree of the gift is imparted ; nor can it be attained 
independent of them, in ordinary circumstances. But the sobriety here 
intended is that enrichment of heavenly knowledge and discernment, 
that abounding " in all wisdom and prudence," which only they can 
receive and retain who live in intercourse with the Source of heavenly 
light, and " walk by faith in him." And if it be true of Christians 
generally, that " if any man lack wisdom," and " ask it of God," it shall 
be given to him " liberally," how great may be your confidence in asking 
this celestial gift, since you ask it to be employed in the service to 
which he has appointed you, and that you may be the unerring guides 
of the souls purchased by his blood, and placed under your care ! 

The characters of " a sound mind," as connected with the exercise 
of the Christian ministry, are too numerous for me to attempt to adduce 
in full ; but the following may be sufficient to indicate to you its im- 
portance, and to call forth your prayers, that you may be endowed 
with it in a measure equal to that demand which may be made 
upon this qualification by the general or special duties of your future 

1 . Its first character is love of the truth. 

The love of truth generally designates an intellectual man ; it is this 
which gives vigour to his studies, acuteness to his researches, and 
patience to his labours : but to possess the " soundness of mind" here 


spoken of, is to love " the truth," eminently so called, the doctrine of 
Chmst, the truth of the Gospel. 

To love its acquisition. 

If you " meditate on these things, and give yourselves wholly unto 
them," you will not be content with partial glances of them, and with 
" first principles of the doctrine of Christ." You will feel that devout 
study only opens brighter views and richer mines ; that while you 
teach you learn ; and that by learning only can you keep up the vigour, 
the harmony, the " demonstration" of your teaching. Like Moses, you 
will be anxious to press upward to more distinct vision ; you will feel 
the force of his sublime prayer, " Lord, I beseech thee, show me thy 
glory." Like him, too, you will obey the voice of condescending good- 
ness, which says, " Come up unto me in the mount ;" that when you 
descend among your people, the " face" of your ministry may be 
irradiated with those beams of light which only prayerful contemplation 
can put upon it ; a glory not to be veiled like his, because you are 
ministers of " the New Testament," but which with " unveiled face" 
you are to exhibit to the people, who with " unveiled faces" also have 
the privilege of beholding it : so that both you and they, by this clear 
and vivid manifestation of the glory of God in Christ, in his person, 
work, and offices, in his doctrines, promises, and life, maybe " changed 
into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the 

To love the truth, so as to be jealous of its uncorrupted purity. 

A " sound judgment" will teach you that truth is exposed to danger ; 
and a " sound feeling" will impel you the more carefully to guard it. — 
You are set for the defence as well as for the promulgation of the Gos- 
pel ; and this is no inferior part of the trust committed to you by Christ. 
The sacred fire of the altar of the tabernacle was kindled by Heaven ; 
but the priests were to burn wood upon it every morning, that it might 
never go out. Such is to be your daily charge of that heavenly doc- 
trine which at " first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was con- 
firmed unto us by them that heard him." Love to the truth, and indif- 
ference to its purity, cannot possibly co-exist. The one necessarily 
implies the absence of the other ; and one must subside, as the other 
rises in its influence upon your hearts. As you love it, you will watch 
over it, that it may never, at least in your hands, be darkened by errors, 
or adulterated by human speculations. You will fulfil, with fidelity, in 
your day, that guardian office which was fulfilled for you and for all 
the present generation, by that band of holy men which every age of 
the Church has produced ; you will stand like them around its sacred 
fount, and defend its bright and hallowed stream from being troubled 
by the foot of bold and polluted intruders ; that so it may continue to 
flow, as " the river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, 
the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High." It is true that 
an opinion has often been asserted, and sometimes ingeniously defended, 
by speculative and able men, that mental error has no guilt, and brings 
no danger to the soul. But a " sound mind" will think differently, be- 
cause a very different view of the case is given in the word of God ; 
and from its intense love of the truth, it will feel differently. It will 
not allow these heavenly doctrines, these " sons of God," to ally them- 
selves to " the daughters of men ;" lest a giant progeny of errors should 


again fill the earth with darkness and wickedness. It forbids that 
Isaac, " the seed in which all nations are to be blessed," should take 
to himself a wife of the people of the land, lest Canaanitish corruptions 
should again defile the Church of God, and destroy the hope and the 
refu°e of man. 

It is this love of the truth in ministers which guarantees its perpe- 
tuation to future times. 

It is not to the present age only that even private Christians are to 
look, since Christians in former ages have cared for them. Much more 
is a minister bound by virtue of his office to have respect to the trans- 
mission of truth to posterity. We see how strikingly the Apostle Paul 
and his coadjutors connected God's mercy to them with the future 
generations of the world,, as they looked down the whole line of the 
future, and comprehended all men in the plans of Heaven, and in their 
own charity ; — : " that in the ages to come he might show the exceed- 
ing riches of his grace in his kindness toward us, through Jesus Christ." 
To the future you too, my brethren, will constantly have respect, if you 
love the truth, arid the souls of men whom that truth only can " sanctify" 
and save. If " taking heed" to your own " doctrine" is necessary to this 
end, you will rigidly scrutinize it by the word of God, lest you should .be 
the parents or the patrons of any injurious or destructive error. If the 
institutions of the Church are essential, you will preserve them unim- 
paired. If the continuance of the ministry is necessary, you will com- 
mit it " to faithful men," as we have now, we trust, committed it to you. 
If sowing the seed deep and wide may multiply the probabilities of its 
unfailing transmission, you will " sow beside all waters." If labours 
are demanded, you will not shrink from them ; if sufferings, you will 
suffer rather than betray the ark of your God, and " quench the light of 
Israel." What- spirit-stirring examples of this regard for the preserva- 
tion and transmission of truth are emblazoned in the glorious history of 
the Church ! Gladly, O ancient witnesses for our Christ, were ye 
bound, that " the word of God might not be bound !" Meekly did ye 
die, that the truth might live, and give life to the world ! 

2. This quality of a " sound mind" in a minister will show itself in 
the pre-eminence which he gives in his studies and in his preaching to 
that truth which he is appointed exclusively to teach. 

We have the strongest example of this in the apostle himself. His 
education had furnished him with knowledge of various kinds ; and in- 
cidental allusions in his writings show that he was familiar with the 
poets and the sages of ancient Greece : yet, when referring to his 
ministry among the polished Corinthians, a people ready to receive, 
with applause, any display of that " wisdom" for which their schools 
were famous, and in which the genius of their country was felt to have 
immortalized itself, he says, " I determined to know nothing among 
you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucifie.d." All other knowledge was, 
as it were, annihilated in his cares, and his discourses ; and he dwelt 
upon the doctrines of our redemption, as though he " knew nothing" 
beside. So judged this man of " sound mind ;" and how well he judged, 
the fruits of his ministry are the lasting evidence. 

He had, indeed a previous discipline of mind, qualifying him the 
better for his special work when he was called to it, and which was at 
length sanctified to his great office of preaching Christ. There 18 


evidence too, from his writings, that subordinately to this,, he continued 
to acquaint himself with useful knowledge in general; so that from 
this declaration of the apostle, ignorance and sloth can find no justifi- 
cation. The minister would be justly condemned, and especially in 
the present day, who neglects the acquisition of knowledge ; who does 
not, as St. Paul himself enjoins, " give attendance to reading ;" who 
contents himself with half-conceived and ill-arranged generalities ; who 
has no intellectual stores from which to make that skilful distribution, 
and give that varied illustration of his subjects, which the different 
characters, states, and tastes of men require ; who, though professedly 
a teacher of religion, neither defends it by well chosen arguments, nor 
holds in his mind a just arrangement of its doctrines ; and who, while 
in every public service he places himself before the people as an ex- 
pounder of God's word, seems not aware of the diligent application to 
private study which that important office demands, nor avails himself 
of the labours of those eminent men who have devoted their learning 
and their spiritual discernment to elucidate the Holy Scriptures. You 
have not been. so taught. The sentiments of our venerable founder are 
too well known on. this subject that I should repeat them. He enjoins 
upon us that we spend at least five hours daily in private reading and 
study ; and in the earlier periods, at least, of our ministry, busy and 
disconnected as it is, we shall find the application of this portion of 
our time not superfluous. But if neglect of the necessary means of 
qualifying ourselves for this sacred work is without palliation, still more 
pitiable is the case, when that heavenly wisdom which it is our office 
to convey, instead of converting what is useful in every other branch 
of knowledge into its own substance, and rejecting what cannot be so 
alimented by it, is displaced by. the " wisdom of words," and by the 
irrelevant sciences of this world. Of many subjects it is proper for a 
minister to taste, on which he may not feed ; for if he would retain the 
freshness and power of his ministry, the science of salvation, the word 
of God, and the work of God, must be the study of his life. Law is 
the study of the man who has charge of our rights ; medicine, of him 
who is entrusted with our health ; the word of God, of him who has 
charge of souls. He only has "a sound mind," he only is "apt to 
teach," who thus judges. " Study to show thyself approved unto God, 
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed; rightly dividing the word 
of truth ;" rightly distributing it, as the master of a house to his family 
sitting around his board, among whom may be the young, the aged, the 
invalid, and others with peculiar constitutional appetencies. This 
" distribution" will be discriminating as to the various kinds of food ; 
but all that he • distributes must be, in • reality, food; that which is 
adapted to nourish the body to strength and health. You, my brethren, 
are the masters of the feast, whenever you administer in holy things ; 
but that which you are rightly and with discrimination to distribute, is 
" the word of truth," not " the doctrines of men." You are professedly 
feeders of souls to spiritual strength, and religious maturity ; and you 
must never forget that the soul has no aliment for moral ends but the 
word of God. It has indeed been argued in a somewhat popular book 
on physico-theology, not long ago published, that the listlessness with 
which sermons are often attended, arises from their having in them so 
little to excite the attention ; and, in the view of this author, they would 


be greatly improved, and piety would become at once more rational 
and more ardent, if preachers would more largely study the various 
branches of intellectual and natural philosophy, and make them the 
frequent theme of their discourses. From this practice, it is believed, 
deeper interest would be produced in our hearers, and more powerful 
effects would result. This opinion may be more than doubted ; it will 
not certainly bear the application of the rule of the apostle just men- 
tioned ; for there would be in this practice no " distribution of the word 
of truth," and no consequent feeding of souls. The abstract specula- 
tions of the metaphysician scarcely produce any unequivocal convic- 
tion of the judgment, and must fall, therefore, powerless upon the heart ; 
and as to the works of God in the natural world, a very superficial 
knowledge of them is all that is necessary for purposes of devotion. 
David was not a philosopher, at least the astronomy of modern times 
was unknown to him ; but all the reach of Newton's calculations could 
not have increased that impression of pious and humble adoration, 
which a popular glance of the starry heavens awakened in his prepared 
mind. He exclaims, " When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy 
fingers ; the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained : what is 
man, that thou art mindful of him ?" But had this reflection been the 
result of research and calculation, the probability is that its tone would 
not have been so deep and hallowed ; at least, we are sure that the 
mere absence of science was no bar to the piety of the feeling, and the 
full impress of the morality of the lesson. The purposes for which 
we go into the philosophic lecture room, and into the house of God, 
are so distinct, and call forth exercises of mind so different, that they 
cannot be brought together in a sermon without disturbing or neutral- 
izing each other. Nor is it necessary to make the pulpit the vehicle 
of philosophy. All that is necessary for the body of the people to 
know on these subjects can be had more compendiously, and more 
effectually, by reading cheap and popular publications. Such dis- 
courses in the pulpit would tire by the tastelessness of mere generali- 
ty ; or they would displace what ought to be ever most eminent in the 
ministry, if, to avoid superficial topics, deep discussion and particu- 
larity of illustration were resorted to. Nor would this practice accord 
with the genius of religion. Science creeps, while religion expands 
the wing and soars. One passing pious thought, in a devotional mo- 
ment, on the structure of a pebble, shall produce all the effects supposed 
by the writer I have alluded to, infinitely more rapidly and efficiently, 
than if in scientific adoration we bowed down before the stocks and 
stones of geological theories; and the bright sun which on some smiling 
Sabbath morn lights the steps of the worshipper to the house of his 
God, or the thunder which may roll at a distance while he is sitting in 
the solemn assembly before Him " whose voice it is," shall shed a 
sweet and joyous, or a solemn and adoring, influence upon the spirit, 
which would probably be wholly dissipated were the preacher to com- 
mence a demonstration to show that the sun must be at least ninety 
millions of miles distant from the earth ; and to account for the thun- 
der, by descanting on the principles of electricity. The praise of 
profound science is no more true praise to a minister whose vow com- 
pels him to " give himself wholly" to other subjects, than it is praise 
to him to be scholastically and artificially eloquent. Deep wells are 


often dry ; and there are " clouds," gay with all the hues of light, 
which contain " no water," and only mock the husbandman while they 
pass in brilliant career over his parched fields. I would not have you 
ignorant of the subjects just mentioned, or of any other that can be 
consecrated to usefulness, which is aided by variety of knowledge 
They will afford you many happy facilities of illustrating a truth which 
rises much higher than themselves ; and they often supply the attractive 
adornings of genuine eloquence : but this, as to you at least, is their 
principal office. 'Your administrations must be pregnant with more 
vital qualities ; they are to be " clouds of blessing." Genius may 
mould them into various forms, and taste may illuminate and vary them 
with " colours dipped in heaven ;" but whatever ray you cast upon the 
fringes of the cloud, let the body and substance of it be charged with 
the concentrated vapours of the spring, tremulous to the impulse of 
every breeze, and impatient to pour the vital shower upon the thirsting 

3. A third character of soundness of mind is discrimination. 

To " try things that differ," to assign to each its own place, and to 
consider it in its relation to other subjects, is one of the highest attain- 
ments of practical wisdom. We speak of it now with reference to 
the different parts of that truth which you are called hy your office to 

It has already been remarked, that, as to truth in general, soundness 
of mind in a minister will show itself in that pre-eminence which he 
will give in his studies and in his teaching, to the doctrines of Christ 
as embodied in the Scriptures, in comparison of different branches of 
knowledge which he may be under various temptations too far to cul- 
tivate. But as, among the various kinds of truth, one is to fix the 
special attention of the minister of Christ ; so, among the particular 
truths of which that is the species, one subject must always occupy the 
first place, and be kept in that relation, both in our private theological 
system, and in our public ministry. Need I say that this is the glo- 
rious subject of all truly evangelical preaching, " the cross of Christ ?" 
It is this to which St. Paul so constantly recurs, and of which he 
makes his boast, " But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross 
of our Lord Jesus Christ ;" and the reason which he gives ought to be 
deeply impressive upon every minister who aims at practical and saving 
results, as the fruits of his labours. That only was considered by the 
apostle as " the life" of Christianity ; that, the only source from which 
its moral efficacy was derived : for why did he glory in the cross of 
Christ ? He himself answers, " By which the world is crucified to 
me, and I unto the world." 

It is the discernment of the true place and eminence of this grand 
truth with respect to all others in Christianity, and of all others to this. 
in a variety of degrees and relations, of which I now speak, and which 
will be the true test of the soundness of your minds in what relates to 
doctrine, and its application to the experience and salvation of men. 
The term, " analogy of faith," has been objected to, and has doubtless 
been abused to the culpable purpose of warping the pure word of God 
to the peculiarities of systems. Yet, in a sober acceptance of the 
phrase, there is doubtless an analogy of faith, which can never be safely 
overlooked ; in other words, there are certain doctrines laid down in 


the New Testament with peculiar strength of evidence ; and by them 
all others on which any obscurity rests, considered in themselves, are 
to be judged of, and with the former the latter are to be harmonized. 
Among the brightest- of these clearly-manifested truths is the doctrine 
of the cross, the atonement made for the sins of men by the sacrificial 
death of our Saviour. This is the key stone of the sublime arch of 
that theology which comprehends all our interests within its mighty 
range, and bears all their weight : it is at once the foundation and the 
corner stone of the temple of the universal Church, out of which there 
is no sacrifice, and no acceptance. What, then, is so leading and 
essential in the system we receive ought to be so in our preaching; 
and, forgetting this, our theology would be without power, and our 
" preaching vain." Up to this key stone, too, every part must be fit- 
ting in its order ; and upon this foundation the whole building must be 
laid, or we discriminate not the differences, conjunctions, and harmo- 
nies of the beauteous whole. For suffer me to take the liberty of re- 
minding you, that a man may preach nothing but the Gospel, and yet 
not be a preacher of the Gospel. Every part of the arch may be found 
in his teaching ; but, not being fitted to the key stone, there is not the 
arch itself. The temple, too, may be there, its walls, its roof, its orna- 
ments ; but if separate and disjointed, all is isolated truth arid detached 
beauty ; the walls are not on the foundation, the house is not " builded 
together," and can never " grow unto a holy temple to the Lord ;" un- 
der its roof no one finds shelter, before its altar no fragrant incense 
arises, and it is not a " palace in which God is known as a refuge." 
The discriminating quality of a " sound mind" will teach you, my bre- 
thren, to avoid these errors, -so fatal to ministerial success, and will 
make you of " quick understanding," to discern at once the eminence 
of the doctrine of " Christ crucified," and the manner in which all 
others are related to it. But permit me more particularly to illustrate. 

You seek a noble subject of preaching, and you therefore select the 
Divine perfections ; and great and inspiring, we admit, is the display 
which is made of those " deep things of God" in the inspired records. 
He himself descends before us, and proclaims his own name, " The 
Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, abundant in 
goodness and truth." You dwell on these attributes ; you find meta- 
physical proofs of their real existence in the Divine nature, and you 
select illustrations from nature and- from providence to render them 
clearly understood. But a theist or Socinian could do all this as fully, 
as eloquently, as yourselves. You describe, you paint ; but what do 
you more ? What interest have your hearers in all this ? You 
describe God ; but what is to connect man, sinful man, with this Being 
of awful majesty and affecting condescension ; since, after all, you 
cannot hide it, that " he will by no means clear the guilty." You teach 
nothing but what is true ; but you do not teach the true knowledge of 
God. Go, then, unite the Old Testament with the New ; exhibit that 
" God in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their 
trespasses unto them ;" God glorified in Christ ; glorified by his passion, 
and glorifying himself in the administration of that salvation which flows 
from it ; and then, and not till then, you teach the Divine perfections, 
and communicate the true knowledge of God to your people. 

You intend to abase your hearers, to make them feel the depth of 


their nature's fall, and to expose the hidden corruption and obscure 
mazes of a deceitful heart. This is a painful, but a necessary duty ; 
for we are all apt to palliate and to heal over " our hurt" slightly. But 
what do you effect by this exposure of the heart ? by all these reproving 
and repulsive exhibitions of the moral features of unregenerate man to 
himself in the true and unflattering mirror of the perfect law ; if you 
treat this as an isolated subject, and think it sufficient to prove the 
fact, to thunder forth reproofs, or to give but general and obscure "hints 
at the remedy ? But connect the fall of inan with the redeeming pity 
of his Saviour ; witli the blood which at Once atones and sanctifies ; 
with the power and immediate presence of a physician whose touch 
is health, and who requires no condition of access to himself but a 
pleading confidence in his power and compassion ; and you strike hope 
into the heart, pained by your searching reproofs ; and with hope enters 
contrition. No man thoroughly hates his sins, until he sees the foun- 
tain in which they may be washed away ; for " the exceeding sinful- 
ness of sin" ia only manifested by the " preciousness" of that blood 
which it was needful to shed, in order to cleanse so deep and foul a 
stam. No evil is cured in its root and principle by reproof, by expos- 
tulation, by the keenness of ridicule, the cautery of satire, or even by 
the pleadings of sympathy and kindness. All these means have been 
tried in vain ; and whatever impression may have been made upon the 
external manifestations of the unrenewed affections of the heart, the 
tide of corruption has still held onits course, deep and feculent within. 
There is no death for sin, but on the cross which bore the great 
Deliverer ; and your orthodoxy on the subject of human depravity will 
serve your ministry nothing, unless you both '" know" yourselves, and 
teach this all-important knowledge to others. " Knowing this," says 
St. Paul, with great emphasis, " that our old man is crucified with him, 
that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not 
serve sin." 

You would also perhaps teach the moral duties, another part of your 
ministry, which you cannot without unfaithfulness neglect ; and I trust 
you have not to learn, that, in order to qualify yourselves to teach 
morals, you have no heed to stray into the precincts of heathenism, 
or to resort to the discourses of those professed Christian divines who 
on such subjects have thought it the perfection of their skill to appear 
as much pagan and as little Christian as possible. You will find the 
Gospel to be complete, both as a system of morals, and as a system 
of doctrine. On each we equally needed a revelation, and on each 
has the unclouded light fallen from heaven. But although you present 
the full and perfect moral code of our religion in all its beauty, or in 
all its awfulness of obligation, yet, if you separate it from the hopes 
conveyed to the heart by the atonement and mediation of Christ, and 
from the vitality which each imparts through the instrumentality of 
faith ; you only describe and paint, but you do not apply ; or, if you 
apply, you reprove, you convince, you irritate, you induce " the spirit 
of bondage unto fear ;" and here your ministry terminates. You train 
the branches of your vine, you apply the pruning knife, and you wait 
for fruit, and are disappointed. Or you form your representations 
of ideal virtue ; mould an image of clay, give to it all the proportions 
and apparent muscular strength of man ; but you bring it not into living 


warmth and energy. See the grand mistake so often made, and avoid 
it. Teach the doctrine of the Spirit's renewing influence ; that Spirit 
purchased by the passion of Christ for all that believe on him, and 
you offer at once the rule of duty, and the power of performing it. 
Your vine has been fruitless, not because its branches were not well 
trained and pruned ; (you may have done both in the most anxious 
manner ;) but because its root has been left out of the earth, or it has 
not been watered. Your statue of clay, after all your skill and toil, 
remains cold and motionless. But when you bring this fire from hea- 
ven, it warms under the plastic hand of your ministry ; you place 
within it a heart instinct with a new and celestial life, which converts 
the gross material into its own nature, gives brightness to the eye, 
vigour to the limb, and one uniform and healthful action to the whole 
mass of death. You become the formers of living men, the examples 
of the obedience you teach ; men who, to your joy, realize in their 
spirit and conduct the varied virtues on which otherwise you had 
descanted in vain. These I give as instances. You will be able to 
apply the principle more largely, and discern, that as all things in heaven 
and in earth are united in Christ, so every doctrine, promise, and pre- 
cept in the Gospel centres in his cross, his glorious atonement, which 
is " the head," and by which all the rest " consist." 

4. A " sound," well-prepared " mind" will find an important office 
in the application of truth. 

The truth attained, and distinguished into the relation and proportion 
of its parts, becomes the instrument which we are to apply to effect 
the instruction and salvation of men ; but the mode of using it is so 
intimately connected with these ends, that he who thinks of the infinite 
consequence of the work he is appointed to accomplish, will not fail 
to ask of God that hallowed skill which may insure his success. 

Two things are indeed to be admitted : First, that the truth which 
directly connects itself with the salvation of man, is exceedingly plain 
and manifiest, and may be comprehended in few propositions : Second, 
that every minister has his own particular gift in which he will chiefly 
excel, since by that gift God intends to use him to edify his Church. 
Yet neither are these plain and saving truths, nor this particular gift, 
whatever it be, so bound and fettered as not to be capable of being 
presented and used in a variety of applications, which are but the 
different ways of working the same powerful instrument. You will 
allow me then to instance a few of the most common modes of preach- 
ing, in order to point out that discretion and control which a " sound 
mind" will exercise with respect to each. 

There is the declaration of the " first principles of the doctrines of 
Christ," which all men must be taught ; which must enter, in some 
degree, and that efficiently, into every sermon, and be the basis of 
every address you make to men on the subject of their salvation. A 
sound mind will dictate that these leading truths should always be 
taught with appropriate simplicity and plainness ; and that, on account 
of their being " first principles," and, therefore, first in importance, 
they should be expressed in terms chiefly taken from the inspired 
writings themselves ; in " words which the Holy Ghost has taught ;" 
as becoming their own majesty, which, like the sun, disdains to be 
painted in human colours. But the same- sobriety of judgment will 


also suggest, that as these first principles do not stand alone in the 
word of God, they are to be connected with particular applications in 
their fruits and effects, to the heart and life, and enforced by all possible 
variety of Scriptural motives. There is no such want of connection 
between the lowest principles and the highest attainments in religion, 
as some would seem to suppose. On the contrary, one is constantly 
dependent upon the other ; and when St. Paul exhorts us to " leave 
the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, and to go on to perfec- 
tion ;" he means no more than that they should be left, as a builder 
leaves the foundation he has laid, to carry up the structure to its full 
height, which still remains in constant relation to the foundation, and 
is supported by it. It is for you then, in cultivating the greatest plain- 
ness and simplicity of preaching, still to remember the connection of 
the first truths you teach with every other, and to bring the whole 
system of Christian experience and Christian duty into your ministra- 
tions ; so that if no ministry of a different character from your own 
existed, all who hear you might be made " perfect, thoroughly furnished 
unto all good works." 

There is the doctrinal and controversial mode of preaching. This 
also is an important branch of the ministry, which circumstances may 
often call for. The apostles afford us examples of this, as well as of 
the former. When St. Paul preached to the wise but idolatrous Greeks 
at Athens, he exhibited the mere elements of our religion, the being 
of a God, repentance, the resurrection of Christ and of men, and a 
future judgment. But when he preached in the synagogues, he 
" reasoned out of the Scriptures," and he " disputed in the school of 
Tyrannus." Every part of that truth " which is according to godli- 
ness" must be exhibited and explained in its time and order ; and as 
errors or misapprehensions of truth arise and prevail in society, they 
call for refutation " in the spirit of meekness." But here the endow- 
ments of discretion and sobriety will be called into exercise. In the 
interpretation of doctrine, you will not fall into the error of assuming 
that there are no mysteries left unexplained by the Scriptures ; no 
difficulties which are not superable by human investigation. You will 
rather humbly feel yourselves, and teach others, that much is left for 
the exercise of faith, and for the test of our docility and submission ; 
and that clear as many of the doctrines of Scripture are, considered 
simply in their enunciation, yet their evidence to the reason of man is 
often but very partially vouchsafed, or wholly hidden within the folds 
of a veil, the lifting up of which is reserved to eternity. You will see 
also the folly of attempting to explain a truth made sufficiently clear, 
till there is some danger of producing doubt instead of stronger con- 
viction ; and of a perpetual propensity to argument and demonstration, 
as though men were " ever to learn without coming to the knowledge 
of the truth ;" and of keeping up an incessant fight with objections, as 
though the victory had never been won. Above all, you will regard 
doctrinal accuracy, not as the substance, but as the mere instrument 
of salvation ; the means of accomplishing the great end of your 
ministry, not the end itself. Our old divines well understood this, and 
distributed their discourses into " doctrines" and " uses ;" and though 
the formality of their divisions accords not with the taste of the present 
day, that sense of the practical character of Christianity which dictated 


U to them will never, we trust, be absent from your minds. The torch 
is kindled, not that its brightness may be admired, but that it may give 
light ; and you, as the guides of souls, are to carry it forth into the 
darkness of the world, in order to direct the steps of every wanderer 
" into the way of peace ;" or, to use the nobler metaphor of the apostle 
himself, you are to " hold forth the word of life ;" the beacon which is 
elevated by night on a dangerous shore to guide the tempest-driven 
mariner, amidst the terrors of shoals, and rocks, and sounding breakers, 
into the desired haven. 

There is the critical and expository mode of preaching; a. rich and 
salutary means of " feeding the Church of God," by unfolding the 
meaning of Scripture in its connection and argument, or in the import 
of its separate terms. This is, indeed, rather "a sign to them that 
believe, than to them that believe not ;" yet the talent is of great value 
whenever imparted, and the best effects, though they may not be strong 
or sudden ones, ultimately result from its judicious use. But, in this 
practice, " the sound" and well-disciplined mind will recollect that there 
are parts of the Scripture, the exposition of which is rather to be 
pursued in the closet than the pulpit, and given to the Church in the 
form of writing rather than preaching; and that criticism should be 
employed in our public exercises only to illustrate subjects and terms 
the knowledge of which is chiefly necessary to direct edification. — 
It will teach you to take heed that learning evaporates not in mere 
words, but that it terminates in things; and that men should "be 
pleased," in this respect, as in every other, only •" for their good to 

There is the sententious mode of preaching, where every thing 
superfluous is cut. off, and great truths are concentrated into narrow 
limits, and compacted into weighty and pointed sayings. This is, in 
some, a. great gift from God ; much traditionary wisdom from the ear- 
liest ages has been thus preserved, and the. sayings of eminent men 
have often outlived the influence, and even the memory, of their cha- 
racter and actions. But when this talent exists in a preacher, a sound 
judgment will teach him that a string of proverbs is not a sermon ; 
that the generality of our hearers need copiousness as well as point, 
"line upon line, precept upon precept," not only "here a little," hut 
" there a little," also ; and that they usually feel the breadth of the 
surface, more than the fineness of the edge, of any truth. Our Lord's 
parables are all a kind of proverbs, or may easily be reduced to pro- 
verbs ; but he stoops to the infirmity of the common class of hearers, 
clothes the sentiment with story, and exhibits in action its variety of 

Opposed to the concise and sententious is the diffuse and declama- 
tory method ; one, too, of vast, and perhaps chief utility. In this the 
thoughts may not always be numerous ; but they are enforced by repe- 
tition, presented in varied aspects, and clothed and made attractive 
by appropriate imagery. But if this important talent be committed to 
your use, you will have need of." a sound mind" to give it its full effi- 
ciency. You must often restrain your copiousness, lest you expand 
it into feebleness ; you must often severely chastise the inventive 
faculty, lest, while you occupy the imagination, you miss the conscience. 

There is the awakening and alarming kind of preaching, which, as 


" knowing the terrors of the Lord," you must often adopt ; and there is 
the mild and inviting announcement of the mercies of your Saviour. 
But both must be under the direction of a sound and comprehensive 
judgment. In itself, and by itself, each would be ineffectual, because 
an imperfect method of ministering the truth to men, and because each 
supposes other truths with which it is essentially connected. The 
preaching of man's spiritual extremity and danger supposes his rem.edy 
and refuge in Christ ; for if you have no Saviour to offer, why " tor- 
ment" the unpitied wretch " before his time ?" What kind of ministry 
is yours, if you make him " lift up his eyes in torment," and give him 
not even a " drop of water to cool his tongue ;" if you fix his despair- 
ing eye upon an unmeasurable " gulf," and yet show him no path to 
life across the chasm 1 It is not certainly " the ministry of reconcilia- 
tion," the glorious designation of that which is now " committed" to 
you. On the other hand, the exhibition of promises of mercy sup- 
poses danger and misery ; a danger and misery, too, which men must be 
brought deeply to feel, or, mild as may be your tones, and persuasive 
your accents, you will be to them " as one who hath a pleasant voice, 
and playeth well upon an instrument ;" — all will evaporate in sound, 
for " the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." 

5. The last character of " a sound mind" which I shall suggest to you, 
is, that it is practical ; by which I mean, that it always respects the end 
of its efforts, and cannot rest until that end is attained. 

Apply this to the Christian ministry. Our profession is that of 
" saving souls from death ;" and to this our deepest anxieties ought to 
be directed ; for he trifles with his God, with himself, and with his 
charge, who rests in mere duty, and is not concerned for the result. 

I am sick, and send for a physician. He discourses to me on medi- 
cal science ; he feels my pulse, and goes into a dissertation on the 
circulation of the blood. He discovers that I labour under some 
organic disease, which he demonstrates to me from the anatomy of the 
body, and a comparison of healthy action and morbid symptoms. All 
this is well ; I admire his science, I admit his deductions, and I give 
him my tonfidence , but I find that he is. making no use of his know- 
ledge of my case, except to add it to his catalogue of facts, to increase 
his own store of knowledge, and to enable him to make a farther dis- 
play of his theoretic skill to some other patient. This surely is not 
what I need. Medical skill is of the first importance to me, but it must 
be skill applied to my case ; and I seek from my physician advice, 
medicine, and a careful attention to the effect of both, with direct and 
conscientious reference to my cure. If these are withheld, 1 meet, in- 
deed, with a man wise in physic, but not a healer ; a describer, but not 
a curer of diseases. Brethren, you can apply this. Your people need a 
moral cure ; " the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint :" it is not 
enough that you know the remedy ; you must study its application, and 
watch the effects. Your great business is to work the cure ; and you 
would onjy betray their confidence the more fatally by your theoretic 
qualifications, were you to forget this. Be anxious, then, for success ; 
to this be all your efforts and prayers directed,- — so to run in this race, 
that you may bear away the prize of many a rescued soul ; " so to 
fight, not uncertainly as one that beateth the air ;" so to teach, that 
you may truly enlighten ; so to reprove, that you may convince ; so to 

Vol. I 9 


preach Christ, that men may " look unto him and be saved ;" so to lead 
the sheep, " that they may go in and out, and find pasture ;" so to guard 
the fold that no breach maybe made upon it ; so to seek, that you may 
save : and thus, having been " wise to turn many to righteousness," 
vou will wear them as your diadem of honour, and shine in the lustre 
of their salvation, and in the glory of your own reward, " as the stars 
for ever and ever." 

My brethren, I finish with the topic with which I commenced. 
This "spirit of courage, love, and of a sound mind," is the "gift" of 
God. Use, then, every means to attain it. Drink at the fountain of 
inspiration ; " meditate on these things, give yourself wholly to them," 
set before your minds inciting examples. Think of your solemn final 
account. Add to all the spirit of prayer, and faith ; unchanging faith 
in the promise of Him who now sends you forth under his commission, 
" Lo, I an'i with you always, even to the end of the world." 

And now I dismiss you. I give you joy of your office. I congra- 
tulate you on your unanimous reception by your brethren. We rejoice 
to see so many qualified young men before us, the hope of our Churches, 
some of them the sons of our preachers, endued with good learning, 
the fruit of our own schools, now sanctified by the call of God. " In- 
stead of the fathers," names honoured by us, " come up the children;" 
a circumstance at once affecting to our hearts, and inciting to our 
gratitude. But, whether you are the sons of those who have laboured 
with us in the word and doctrine, or otherwise, we rejoice to believe 
as to you all, that you are anxious to be able and successful ministers 
of the New Testament. Take then the deposit of those precious 
truths which have given spiritual life to our nation, and are giving life 
to the world. Take the example of so many venerable men, to whose 
labours you owe your souls. Gather up the mantle of our ascended 
Elijahs, and wear it with " a double portion" of" their spirit. How many 
of those whom you now see before you are passing away ; stealing 
into obscurity through infirmity, or tottering with age on the brink of 
the grave ! We must " decrease," but you will " increase." We re- 
joice in your brightening light, and pray that many years of usefulness 
may be granted to you. Peace be to you, and peace to the Jerusalem 
upon whose, walls you shall be the watchmen day and night. Receive 
our blessing in the name of the Lord ; and take, above all, " the fulness 
of the .blessing of the Gospel of peace ;" shed this abroad wherever 
Providence may direct your labours, and leave it in all its richness to 
those who shall succeed you, as you are succeeding us. 

Sermon VIII. — God with us. 
The Substance of a Sermon preached before the Conference, at Sheffield, Aug. 1829. 

" For in him we live, and move, and have our being," Acts xvii, 28. 

The important sentiment contained in the text stands among many 
others which would be equally new and wonderful to the philosophers 
and inquisitive "men of Athens." That they were not without all 


knowledge of the true God, is certain. St. Paul quotes a passage in 
proof of this from one of their own poets ; and several of their philo- 
sophic sects admitted one supreme God, of whom they sometimes spake 
eloquently and nobly. Like other idolaters, however, " when they knew 
God, they glorified him not as God." They confined him chiefly to his 
own celestial dominion ; conceived of him as an inactive spectator of 
the works of men ; parcelled out the management of the universe among 
inferior deities ; and transferred that trust and honour, which ought to 
have been exclusively reserved for the one God, to beings of their own 
invention, or to the spirits of departed kings, heroes, and sages of an- 
cient times ; and amidst the elaborate and pompous religious services 
which they rendered to these idols, " they forgot God." 

To hear that the very Being, whom they thought so distant and so 
unconcerned with human affairs, was ever employed in arranging all 
the events of their lives, and had " fixed the bounds of their habitation ;" 
that he had done this in his mercy, in order " that they should seek 
after him and find him ;" " that he is not far from any one of us ;" but 
is indeed so near, that if any dark and bewildered spirit would but 
" feel after him," he should find him ; so near, that " in him we live, 
and move, and have our being ;"- — these indeed were new truths ; and, 
happily, they were not preached to the Athenians in vain. Some in- 
deed " mocked ;" others said, " We will hear thee again of this matter ;" 
but the foundation of a Church, never entirely to perish from Athens, 
was then laid : " Certain men clave unto him, and believed ; among 
whom was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, 
and others with them." 

That such truths, after so great a lapse of time, and even among 
those professing to receive the doctrine of St. Paul, should still need 
to be preached, is a problem which will, at first sight, be either ques- 
tioned or pronounced difficult to solve. Yet, is it so, that in the full 
and true meaning of these words, all who profess faith in the New 
Testament believe that God " appoints the bounds of our habitation," 
and regulates the affairs of men by constant control and guidance 1 that 
he is so " near," that a seeking soul shall find a present God, and break 
out of its natural darkness into the light of his manifested presence 1 
and that in him " we live, and have our being ;" that is, are kept in 
existence, not by a sort of general law, but by incessantly repeated acts 
of upholding and succour ? We meet, I fear, with many sad and affect- 
ing proofs of the contrary. We have not, it is true, exchanged Chris- 
tianity for pagan philosophy ; but we have philosophized upon it in a 
pagan manner ; and still holding, with professed reverence, the letter 
of the truth, we have given to it a Gentile interpretation. 

This is one of the errors of the day. In the revelations of this sacred 
volume, God is brought near to us ; so near to us, that we are told that 
in him " we live, and move, and have our being." In much of the 
philosophy which wears the garb of Christianity, he is again placed 
far from us ; not so far, indeed, that he is removed quite out of sight, 
and wholly unacknowledged and forgotten ; but so far as to weaken the 
foundations of our trust in his power and grace ; and to chill those warm 
and lively emotions of the affections toward him, in which our piety 
has both its joy and its strength. 

This is the subject now brought before you ; and I shall select some 


illustrations of the errors against which we need to be guarded ; and 
by showing their fallacy, endeavour to prepare our minds to receive a 
stronger impression of those great and comprehensive truths which the 
text either contains or suggests. 

I. Our first illustration may be taken from that arranged and ex- 
quisitely ordered material world with which we are surrounded, and 
of which we form a part. 

The philosophy to which I allude is often, with reference to those 
great and impressive phenomena, far from comporting with the doctrine 
of the text. It acknowledges indeed God to be the Creator, and also 
the Upholder and Conservator of all things ; but still its theory is but 
a Christianized paganism. It is continually substituting for the God 
in whom all things live, and move, and have their being, some inven- 
tion of its own ; and though this should be nothing more than a set of 
terms and phrases, which, in point of fact, have no meaning, it rests 
in them, fully satisfied with the discovery. Thus it resorts to its " laws 
of nature," and to its " second causes ;" and these it multiplies again, 
till it throws back the First and only efficient Cause to an unmeasura- 
ble distance ; weakens or denies the doctrine of his immediate agency ; 
and, in fact, puts God far from us. If the earth wants rain, it directs 
my attention to the laws of the atmosphere, the influence of the winds, 
the process of evaporation from the ocean, or the causes on which that 
may depend ; and then, beyond this vast space, filled by intervening 
agents, it indeed allows me to see God. If I am sick, or in health, I 
am forbidden to think immediately upon the hand which smites, or the 
power which heals me : constitutional peculiarities, medicine, air, diet, 
and other second causes come in ; and, in this case, again put God far 
from me. These instances are sufficient for illustration ; and the fault 
which is charged upon these philosophizing Christians is not, that 
secondary causes are investigated, arranged, and exhibited by their 
industry ; but that too frequently they do this in an atheistical manner ; 
and that these second causes are used, not as manifestations of God, 
but as veils to hide him from the sight of his creatures, — in a word, as 
criminal contrivances to forget him. 

The philosophy of the Scriptures bears a very different character. 
Does the rain fall ? It is " our Father in heaven" who sends it " upon 
the just and the unjust." Is the earth vested with verdure 1 It is " God 
who so clothes the grass of the field." Do day and night succeed each 
other ? It is " he that turnetb the shadow of death into the morning, 
and maketh the day dark with night ; that maketh the seven stars, and 
Orion." Do the elements rage ? " Flames of fire are his messengers," 
and " stormy winds fulfil his word." Am I sick 1 His " rod" is upon 
me. Am I in health ? " He healeth all my diseases." So the inspired 
writer, collecting, as it were, the whole universe of creatures, and all 
their agencies, into one view, exclaims, " All things serve thee," — run 
on thy messages, fulfil thy commands, execute thy counsels. 

Where, then, lies the fallacy which, in this plausible philosophy, 
cheats us out of that sense of the ever-present, ever-working, yet un- 
wearied Power, of which we ought always to be sensible ? There is 
no need, in order to preserve and uphold this doctrine, at once the 
most pious, and the most noble, to deny any thing that is said of sub- 
ordinate causes; That they exist, it were absurd to question ; and. 


indeed, their existence is a part of the grandeur of the doctrine of the 
text, rightly understood ; for true theology is always true philosophy ; 
and where the theology is bad, the philosophy will ever be " vain." — 
That text resolves the whole : " In him we live, and move, and have 
our being." Life is from him ; motion is from him ; and that which 
lives and moves, even our very essence, is unceasingly dependent upon 
him. But then this is not to be taken generally, and in mass ; it is as 
true of every individual as of the whole race ; as true of every indi- 
vidual particle of which our frame is composed, as of the whole frame 
itself; it is true of the first subordinate cause, which the Supreme 
Power puts into motion, and by which we may be affected for good or 
for evil ; and it is equally true of the second, which as much " lives, 
and moves, and has its being" in God as the first ; and the third as the 
second ; and the fourth as the third. Multiply these as you please, 
God is in and with that agent which reaches me at last. He is so as 
immediately as with the distant first. It is thus that we gain the glo- 
rious truth, that " he is not far from any one of us." No distance ex- 
tends itself between me and God ; no creature separates me from 
him, but is the very instrument by which he comes to me. For if there 
be a chain of causes and effects, he not only sustains it, but lives and 
acts along its whole line ; and thus may we " foresee him always before 
us," " all in all," and all in every thing. The creature derives its whole 
force from God ; and we, and all that concerns us, are " in his hand." 

II. Our second illustration maybe taken from what is usually called 
providence. That branch of his government, so designated, to which 
I refer, respects the affairs of men ; and where it is allowed that God 
governs his creatures, this very doctrine itself might be supposed ne- 
cessarily to imply such a control on his part, and interpositions so 
marked, as shall make it obvious to reason, that he is " not far from 
any one of us ;" although, as to sense, the hand which moves every 
thing should remain without that visible manifestation which took place 
in " the times of old." 

So various, however, are the inventions of this philosophizing Chris- 
tianity to put God far from us, even in his government of men, that we 
are in danger of quite forgetting him ; and the whole case is often so 
cautiously stated, that we are liable to the charge of fanatical presump- 
tion if we believe and maintain, in the full sense of the text, that we 
both " live, and move," as well as " have our being," in him. 

Hence we have the law of moral causes and effects. It might be 
startling language to call the decays and reverses of a nation " Divine 
judgments," or to attribute national prosperity and strength to God's 
blessing. We must proceed more philosophically, and remember that, 
by a moral law of our being, national weakness and decay are linked 
to national vices, as these naturally spring from wealth, ease, and luxury ; 
and, on the contrary, that the strength of a country, by the same law, 
results from its public and private virtues. 

We have also the law of circumstances. These call forth, both as 
to nations and individuals, their good or their bad qualities ; and are 
more or less favourable and inciting to the full developement of both. 
We thus account for the whole moral phenomena presented by ancient 
and modern states, and by the individuals who surround us. 

But to what does this affected verbiage amount ? What real wisdom 


is there in this " vain philosophy," constructed upon " the rudiments of 
the world, and not after Christ ?" We also allow this law of moral 
causes and effects ; but we ask, Who is its author ? Who is it that 
with steady hand so connects the cause and the effect together, that, 
wrestle with it as men have done in all past, and will do in all future 
ages, vice shall produce misery, and virtue tend to strength and happi- 
ness ? We allow, also, the law of circumstances, rightly understood ; 
but who is it that so arranges and varies them as to put nations, as well 
as individuals, into different conditions of trial and responsibility by the 
circumstances which surround them 1 It is He who determines " the 
times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation ;" and who 
carries into effect, by various operations, mediate and immediate, ex- 
tending often from age to age, and embracing immense multitudes of 
individuals, what he had before designed. Thus he acts as to nations, 
and thus he shows that he is " not far from" them. 

But in the case of individuals, involving as it does the doctrine of a 
particular providence in all its extent, this philosophy still more fatally 

The lot of individuals, with the varied circumstances which charac- 
terize it, is often seen intimately connected with that of other indivi- 
duals ; and their interests sometimes also appear inseparably linked 
with the arrangements of providence as to nations, or with those large 
portions of the community of which they form a part ; nay, sometimes 
with the laws of nature themselves. 

These are indeed facts which, often occur ; and we are therefore 
asked, whether it is reasonable to expect that God should interpose, 
with respect to individuals, to the continual interruption and unsettling 
of his general plans, and the very principles and laws which he has 
impressed upon all nature ? — 

" When the loose mountain trembles from on high, 
Shall gravitation cease, if thou go by ?" 

But what, in fact, do such objections rest upon, except this, — that I 
cannot see in many cases how general plans can at all consist with 
interpositions of God in respect of individuals, for judgment or for mercy? 
The difficulty of the case may indeed be acknowledged ; it may often 
be intricate and inextricable ; but are there not previous considerations 
and first principles to be settled before I can come to a satisfactory 
conclusion ? The God of providence, and the Author of this sacred 
volume, is the same Being ; and, if so, am I not bound, as a professed 
believer in the Divine authority of the Scriptures, to inquire, whether 
he has made any revelation on the subject of particular government 
and his special interpositions as to individuals ? For if the God of 
providence, and the God of the Scriptures, be the same Being, then 
there must be the most perfect harmony between the principles laid 
down in the Bible, and God's actual administration of the affairs of 
men. But it cannot be denied, that we find the doctrine of a particular 
providence in the Scriptures. " In all thy ways acknowledge him, and 
he will direct thy paths :" here God is represented as the guide of all 
good men, personally and individually, who acknowledge him by acts 
of prayer and trust. " Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will 
deliver thee :" here God promises the interposition of an immediate 


deliverance, dependent upon prayer. " Thou shalt not be afraid of the 
pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth 
at noon day :" here personal protection in a time of general calamity 
is promised. So, if we come to the New Testament, its general 
declarations on these subjects all imply the regard which God pays to 
the cases of individuals. We are forbidden to be anxiously careful for 
the morrow, " what we shall eat, or what we shall drink, or wherewithal 
we shall be clothed," upon the principle that our heavenly Father 
" knoweth that we have need of such things." So particular, also, does 
our Saviour represent the notice and care of God to be, that his disci- 
ples are encouraged to trust in him, on the assurance, that " a sparrow 
falls not to the ground without the knowledge of God," and that " the 
very hairs of their head are all numbered." And, in precisely the same 
views, St. Paul exhorts the members of the Churches, speaking to them 
as individuals, " to be careful for nothing, but in every thing," that, is, 
in every case of want and difficulty, to " make their requests known 
unto God." You argue, then, from your own obscure notions respect- 
ing God's general plans of providential administration to the improba- 
bility of such special and immediate interpositions in behalf of individu- 
als as have always been held among sound Christians ; but we turn, 
as to a surer ground, to these plain and unequivocal declarations of 
inspired verity ; and, so far from allowing that God is so " far from us," 
considered in our individual character, as your scheme supposes, we 
maintain that he is, as another scripture expresses it, " near to all them 
that call upon him." 

Perhaps the objectors say, " We do not deny the truth of these pas- 
sages of Scripture; but surely we may, and must, interpret them 
reasonably. We see proofs that God does act upon general plans ; that 
there are established courses of administration, and Uniform laws in the 
government of men, as well as in nature ; otherwise we could derive 
no wisdom from the past, and human experience would be a delusive 
light ; and being so assured of this by experience and observation, we 
are bound to give to these passages of holy writ a more general inter- 
pretation." This, however, is but to say, in fact, that such texts must 
be made to mean any thing or nothing, in subservience to a human 
theory. Try the case, for instance, upon the passage before quoted : 
" Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee ;" which, 
upon this " more general interpretation," must mean, " ' Call upon me,' 
by acknowledging me as the general Governor of the affairs of men , 
and if thou happenest to live at a time when my general plan requires 
the exercise of mercy and goodness to a whole people, or to that part 
of a community with which thou art connected, thou shalt be delivered ; 
but, if not, thy trouble must remain ; for general plans cannot be dis- 
pensed with." The folly and the guilt of such interpretations are 
equally apparent ; and, if indulged in, as they too often are on various 
subjects beside this, would amount to a proud rejection of the whole 
revelation of God. 

But we may farther observe, that the principle of opposing the 
general plans of God in his government of the world to the doctrine 
of his interposition in behalf of individuals, is itself full of misconcep- 
tions and errors. For, 

1. It assumes, that God's general plans as to nations or large portions 


of communities comprehend all individual cases, and all the circum- 
stances which may affect them. This is absurd, and obviously contrary 
to the fact. By a dispensation of mercy to a nation, general prosperity 
may be vouchsafed ; but does it follow, that every individual partakes 
of the blessing ; or that the stream of bounty may not, consistently 
with the general design, be dammed up, and diverted from its course, 
as to particular persons, without affecting the general condition of the 
community ? Suppose, for instance, the head of a family, upon whose 
personal exertions the interests of many others depend, be visited by 
protracted sickness, and laid aside from his business or profession ; how 
shall he avail himself of the general prosperity around him, and turn it 
to his own and his family's advantage 1 Or how shall his widow and 
orphan children escape depression and poverty, should the husband 
and the father be removed by death before their worldly interests are 
provided for ? A pestilence sweeping through a country is a general 
judgment ; but, in the worst instances, all do not die, nor even all sicken. 
Here the general visitation has manifestly a thousand modifications, 
subject to no obvious law ; and it submits to circumstances which must 
often be of a personal, and, apparently to us, an accidental, kind. If, 
then, there are innumerable circumstances which the general plan does 
not infallibly control, but which so often modify it, and alter its course 
as to individual cases ; if beside the general wheel, there are " wheels 
within that wheel," and often without it too, turning on their own centres, 
and impelled even into contrary motions ; we may fully admit the 
doctrine of general plans and laws of administration, and yet find in 
these loose and free circumstances, which operate independently of, or 
greatly modify, the general range of events, an ample field for the 
manifestation of that particular providence of which we speak ; and 
which can make as many exceptions as that Divine wisdom sees fit 
which directs the whole. After all, it will often be found that it is not 
" well," even as to external things, " with the wicked," when all is well 
with the general state of affairs ; nor ill " with the righteous," when 
various judgments are abroad, avenging God's cause upon a sinful peo- 
ple. Often shall those words he realized by the former: "There is 
no peace, saith my God, to the wicked :" and as to the righteous, the 
Divine hand shall be laid upon the general visitation ; and God shall 
make " a hedge about him, and about all that he hath." 

2. A second fallacy involved in this theory is, that it assumes that 
interpositions in favour of individuals must necessarily interfere with 
some general plan of Providence, or some general law of nature. But, 
when it is said, " When he giveth quietness, who then shall make 
trouble ? And when he hideth his face, who then can behold him, 
whether it be done to a nation, or to a man only ?" this text manifestly 
distinguishes between a government of nations, and a government of 
individuals : and it certainly supposes that " quietness" may be given 
to an individual, when it is not given to a nation ; and that the face of 
God may be hidden from a particular person, when it is not hidden 
from a whole community. And then, as to the laws of nature, was any 
thing more trifling ever put into infidel verse than we find in the couplet 
of Pope before quoted ? — 

" When the loose mountain trembles from on high, 
Shall gravitation cease, if thou go by ?" 

6ERM0N vm.] HOD WITH us. 137 

Shall the general law of gravitation be suspended to preserve a man 
who has " committed his way unto the Lord," and prays to him for pro- 
tection from all evil during the day 1 Perhaps not ; and for this reason, 
that there may be no necessity for it. God is not confined to one 
mode of saving. Suppose a strong impulse, or a trifling accident, urges 
him to put off his journey ; or suppose something to occur to hasten 
his passing the mountain some moments before it falls, or to retard it 
till the moment after ; or suppose that, instead of saving him from the 
danger, his great Protector should save him in it ; and that the man 
whom He makes his care should sustain the apparent accident in such 
a way, that the falling ruin should arch hjm over, instead of crushing 
him ; and that he should be dug out alive, and unhurt. There are a 
thousand ways known to God, and many conceivable even by us, by 
which, without interfering with general laws at all, he may honour the 
man who has honoured him, by acknowledging and trusting in him " in 
all his ways." " Lo, these things worketh God oftentime with man, to 
keep back his soul from the pit ; that he may be enlightened with the 
light of the living." 

3. The third fallacy lies in assuming that God's general plans are 
something which he has commissioned to act out of himself, and inde- 
pendent of his own immediate agency ; wholly forgetful of the principle 
of the text, that in him we and all things " live, and move, and have 
our being." For what are God's general plans, but himself in operation ? 
— now spreading the impulses of his power to a wider, now restraining 
them to a narrower, extent ; now working in judgment, then in mercy, 
and again singularly commingling both ; attempering the severity of 
vengeance with compassion, and guarding mercy from abuse by the 
majesty of righteousness ; assigning longer or shorter periods to his 
dispensations of vengeance or goodness, as it pleases him ; and thus 
working onward to the fulfilment of all those purposes which he has 
fixed in his own eternal counsels as the final results of his government 
of human beings 1 But if this be so, if all be God in operation, to what 
general laws is he so bound, as that this should interfere with his mani- 
festations of severity or grace toward individuals 1 The blind, impetu- 
ous ocean must roll whither winds and tides may impel it : it has no 
intelligence, no feeling : it cannot select the victim vessels which it may 
hurl upon the rocks, or the favoured sails which it may bear buoyant 
and safe into the harbour : and your theory dishonours God, by liken- 
ing his general operations to some such mighty but blindly impelled and 
impelling element. The Divine administration is Divine intelligence, 
will, feeling, and wisdom, in action ; and when his arm is made bare, 
and his judgments sweep, or his mercies expand, over a nation, he can 
never be at a loss in his general march to turn aside to visit an indivi- 
dual sinner secure in his trespasses ; or to make it " light in the dwell- 
ings" of his Israel, when the clouds of his judgments darken through 
the abodes of the ungodly. The destroying angel had a fearful general 
commission in Egypt ; but his sword gleamed harmlessly as he passed 
the door sprinkled with that sign of faith, the blood of the appointed 
atonement. God is then " not far from any one of us ;" and we may 
take the full comfort of the declaration, " The eyes of the Lord run to 
and fro through the whole earth, that he may show himself strong in 
the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward him." And how 


many instances are on record, resting upon evidence the most indisputa- 
ble, to confirm the doctrine ! A " vain philosophy" may attempt to 
account for them ; but the absurdities into which it falls are its own 
refutation. During the late struggle of the Greeks to regain their 
liberty, a body of Turks were, in 1824, encamped in a part of Greece, 
and committed every kind of excess upon the inhabitants. One of 
these barbarians, an officer, had pursued a Greek girl, who took refuge 
in the house of a widow. The widow met him at the door, and mildly 
attempted to dissuade him from forcing his way in to seize the girl. — 
Enraged, he drew his sabre ; but when in the act of attempting to cut 
down the widow, it snapped in two pieces before it reached the victim. 
The wretch paused ; but drew a pistol, to accomplish his purpose in 
that manner ; but it missed fire : and when in the act of drawing a 
second, he was forcibly dragged away by one of his companions, who 
exclaimed, " Let her alone. Do not you see that her time is not yet 
come?" Resolved, however, on taking some revenge, he carried off 
her infant child to the camp ; but, as though Providence designed to 
complete its work on this occasion, while the officer was asleep, the 
child was carried back to the widow by one of his own men.* I know 
how a heartless skeptic would quibble here ; but the affecting story 
bears its own comment : and I would take the grateful tears of the pre- 
served widow, who saw the hand of God in her deliverance, not only 
for the best feeling, but for the best philosophy. " All his saints are 
in his hand ;" and where is the saint whom he has not " encompassed 
about with songs of deliverance ?" 

III. We find a third illustration in religious opinions. 

The opinions we form on religious subjects are of the first import- 
ance ; for the other powers of the soul follow in the train of the under- 
standing, and are influenced by it. How, for instance, shall we will 
any thing, but as we see in it reasons of choice ? How shall we love, 
but as we see reasons of preference and desire ? If this our great in- 
tellectual eye be " sound," then shall we be " full of light ;" but if it be 
diseased, " how great must be our darkness !" 

The question, whether we are left to ourselves to form religious 
opinions, is settled by the fact, that God has granted us a revelation 
from himself on all the subjects connected with our moral state and re- 
lations. He has, however, done more than this ; he condescends to 
become the secret teacher of the meaning of his own revealed word ; 
and not only to present it to our attention, but to " open our understand- 
ings," that we may know the Scriptures. It is thus that he visits 
us as " the day spring from on high, to give light to them that sit in 
darkness, and in the shadow of death, and to guide their feet into the 
way of peace." 

But as this view supposes a secret influence of God upon the mind, 
it cannot be tolerated by those who boast themselves to be rational 
Christians. It is bringing God too near to man for their philosophy. 
But in their case the doctrine of direct Divine influence is rejected, 
not, I fear, from humility, which is often the pretence, but from self 
sufficiency. So near, indeed, will such persons allow that God has 
been to man, that he has spoken to us by " holy men of old ;" so near, 

* This anecdote is verified by the Rev. Mr. Arundel, author of " A Visit to the 
Seven Churches of Asia," who was in the village at the time. 


that he authenticated their inspiration by " signs, and miracles, and 
divers gifts of the Holy Ghost ;" but when this extraordinary work of 
the Spirit was accomplished, it is contended, nothing more was neces- 
sary ; and that man, left to himself, is as competent to collect the sense 
of holy Scripture, as that of any common and uninspired writing on any 
subject within the comprehension of an ordinary intellect. This theory 
is often exhibited in plausible guise ; but it will be sufficient for its 
refutation, if we can show that it leaves the case of man wholly unpro- 
vided for ; and that if God were to stand thus " far from us" in our 
inquiries into the mysteries of his religion, not one of us could ever 
come to the effectual knowledge of the truth. For, 

1. Man is not only indifferent, but even averse and hostile, to that 
very truth which he is urged to study, and which his unassisted powers 
are said to be adequate fully to apprehend. Here is the first difficulty 
which presents itself. We may not, indeed, be averse to every part 
of revealed truth. The Bible has a history, a poetry, a charm in the 
style of its narrative, a power in its exhibition of character, and a sub- 
limity of doctrine, which shall often engage the attention, and gratify 
the taste, of even worldly and unregenerate men. But the test lies 
not here. Do they love the truth which reproves and condemns them ? 
the truth which faithfully lays open their soul's danger, and presses it 
upon their fears ? the truth which strips them of all plea of worthiness 
and merit, and brings down the most virtuous among them to the com- 
mon level of all sinners, as to merit, in the sight of God, to be "justi- 
fied freely by his grace," " through faith ?" We daily see the contrary ; 
and as to every such truth, when presented to them, so far are they 
from having the disposition calmly and with interest to investigate its 
evidence and its import, they exclaim, " Hast thou found me, mine 
enemy V What, then, shall bring the minds of such men — supposing 
them even to be able, without assistance from the teaching Spirit, to 
enter fully into their meaning — to study such truths, so necessary to 
their salvation, with an intense anxiety not to be mistaken in them, 
and with perfect sincerity 1 A power independent of man's heart 
must be supposed. No man of his own accord ever took the Scrip- 
tures, and read himself into self knowledge, penitence, alarm, and 
abasement ; no man ever persuaded another to do this ; and, in the 
nature of the case, a visitation from on high must be supposed, to con- 
quer the natural aversion of the heart to truths of this class, and to 
make a man willing to take the gauge of his own wretchedness and 
danger, and to offer up all his pride arid false hope " to be hewn in 
pieces before the Lord," by the sword which proceedeth out of his 

2. We are to consider that the love of sin, in some form or other, 
is found in every man while in his natural and unregenerate state. But 
wherever this is found, it infallibly darkens the judgment on all sub- 
jects of vital importance in religion. This was exhibited among the 
Pharisees of our Lord's time. I grant the case is an extreme one ; 
and that it presents an awful picture of men so blinded by their pas- 
sions, as to be impenetrable to the force of the most stupendous evi- 
dence, and to persecute unto death the incarnate Son of God, notwith- 
standing that obvious stamp of divinity which his " mighty works" had 
impressed upon him. But this dark picture is drawn, that, by seeing 


the full effect of the principle, we may be made aware of its malignant 
character. A principle which could produce, such effects in them 
cannot exist in any degree without perverting the judgment as to all 
those truths of religion, on which it is of the first importance that we 
should have the clearest conceptions. But if this same principle — the 
love of sin and the world — is found in all unregenerate persons, how 
is the meaning of the word of God to be attained fully by them, as the 
meaning of any other writing against which no such passion, and its 
darkening influence, operates ? If you say that man must first conquer 
his evil propensities, and then come to the study of truth, you set him 
upon doing this without a right knowledge of that Divine revelation 
which alone fully describes his case, and teaches its remedy. If you 
bid him apply to God in prayer for the previous cure of his evil nature, 
in order to prepare him to receive the truth, then you suppose that God 
renews the heart of man independent of his word, which is expressly 
declared to be the instrument of our regeneration, and of sanctifying 
the Church ; and farther, if you are obliged , in order to meet the case, 
to admit a direct Divine influence upon the will and affections, why 
should you hesitate to admit it as operating upon the understanding 
also ? My brethren, we are not left without full information on this 
important point. There are two grand offices of the Holy Spirit which 
answer to each other, and which bring us fully out of the difficulty. 
He is the Teacher of men ; but he is first the Spirit who " convinces" 
or reproves of sin ; and when he thus fulfils his office by that power 
which he exerts through the word preached, read, or brought to mind, 
he strikes life into the soul which was before dead in trespasses and 
sins, and by awakening the fears makes truth the object of desire, 
however painful and reproving, if it may lead to salvation. The love 
of error is cured by this flash upon the conscience, and the soul stands 
prepared to be led by the teaching of God into all truth. Thus we 
see that we could never come to the knowledge of the truth, if God 
were far from us ; and if we admit this, we cannot stagger at the next 
step, that he is the constant guide of the humbled spirit. Yes, the 
words of our Saviour are eternally true, — " I am the light of the world ; 
if any man follow me," with a docile mind, " he shall not walk in dark- 
ness, but have the light of life ;" and when the teacher God is near, 
his law brightens before us into all the lustre of its celestial and awful 
purity ; redemption exhibits a more illustrious fitness ; duties are seen 
under higher reasons ; holiness is arrayed in lovelier beauty ; and pro- 
mises disclose their heights and depths of meaning. Thus the under- 
standing, filled with increasing light and conviction, leads up the other 
powers to their legitimate and vigorous exercise ; the choice of the 
will is decided ; the excitement of holy desires becomes more habitual 
and intense ; effort is invigorated ; the various graces of the regenerate 
character bloom and bear fruit under the clear heaven of a spirit filled 
with the light and influence of God ; and " the man of God is thoroughly 
furnished for every good word and work." 

IV. Our fourth illustration may be taken from internal religion. 

The Christianized philosophy of which I speak is not, in every in- 
stance, to be charged with rejecting a religion of the heart. As held 
by some, it does allow it ; but even in this its danger lies ; for as it 
still places God far from us, in that very proportion it leaves man to 


himself, and teaches him to look to no higher a resource than may be 
found in his own nature. 

It allows of faith ; but then its faith is a mere intellectual principle, 
and works its mighty effects in the way of natural process. It allows 
that prayer, to be effectual, must be the language of the heart ; but 
then we are told that it benefits us, by working in us a moral prepara- 
tion to receive God's gifts. 

In other cases, perhaps, it allows that there is a witness of the Spi- 
rit to our adoption ; but then this Spirit, we are told, is nothing more 
than the Spirit in the word, who has there described the moral charac- 
ters of those who are the children of God ; and that it is by comparing 
our own moral state with these recorded characteristics, that we are 
to apply his general testimony to ourselves. 

It allows the devotional habit, that man is bound to walk with God 
in the silent converse of his heart ; but devotion is taken to be no more 
than the impression made by the character, the works, and the bene- 
volence of God, upon the affections. It is, in fact, sentiment flowing 
from the impressibility of our physical nature, when operated on by sub- 
lime and touching subjects ; and which, in this case, stand connected 
with objects of religion, or those bearing some resemblance to them. 

But God is not thus " far from us" in any of these respects. After 
all these misleading plausibilities, " God dwelleth with man upon 
earth ;" and the true interpretation of " Immanuel" is, " God with us." 
It is indeed affecting to see the high and glorious spiritualities of our 
religion lowered, and stripped of all emphasis and meaning, by these 
imperfect and carnal views ; — but it is not difficult to defend this branch 
of the truth of God also. 

We deny not that faith, in the sense of belief, is a work of the in- 
tellect ; but, in the Scripture sense of trust, and as a realizing princi- 
ple, it is a work of the heart under special Divine influence, and so is 
a gift, since we are warranted to pray, " Lord, increase our faith." 
We deny not that he who meditates deeply upon his state, and wants, 
and dangers, is in a posture to receive the grace of prayer, and has re- 
ceived a measure of it already ; but prayer is prevalent, not in moving 
something within ourselves, but in moving God ; and it moves him, 
because " he knows what is the mind of the Spirit who maketh inter- 
cession in us, according to the will of God." 

We deny not that there is a testimony of the Spirit in the word as 
to the true character of all who are the children of God ; but then one 
of these characters is love to God as a Father, which I can never feel 
until by some means I know that he is not only the common Father of 
mankind, but my Father reconciled ; and of this I must be persuaded 
before I can apply the rule. I am set, therefore, upon this impossible 
task, to infer from a general description of the moral character of the 
children of God, what has passed in the mind of God, as to my per- 
sonal justification, and to discover in my own heart love to God as re- 
conciled to me, while I have a trembling fear of him as a Judge. No, 
it is the Holy Spirit that " knoweth the mind of God," which " no man 
knoweth ;" and his clearly revealed office is to show us, by his own 
direct impression upon the heart, what God has decided on the matter 
of our personal pardon ; and hence we are taught, not that the Spirit, 
as having inspired the written word which lays down authoritatively 


the terms of pardon to all, enables us to infer our adoption, but that 
" the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits, that We are the chil- 
dren of God ;" and that he thus " abides with us" as " the Comforter." 

We deny not that there is a natural aptitude in various subjects to 
produce impressions of awe or delight upon the mind. The grandeur 
and beauty of nature, the perfections of God, the character and love 
of Christ, the solemnities of judgment, and the glories of a future life, 
are of this description : and we allow, too, that all these impressions 
upon the susceptibility of our nature are very often used by " the good 
Spirit," as instruments of our edification ; but if I regard them as 
religion itself, and not as the mere instruments employed by a higher 
agency, I either shut out God entirely, or I acknowledge him, it is 
true, as the God of nature, who has thus made us with these suscepti- 
bilities, but reject him as the God of grace, who, by special influence, 
turns them to his own merciful purposes. In a word, I make religion 
a natural, not a supernatural process. And am I told by the apostle, 
in the very verses under my eye, that even a poor heathen, enveloped 
in his darkness, if he but " feel after God, if haply he may find him,'' 
shall indeed find him, and for this very reason, that " he is not far from 
any one of us ;" and shall I expect still less under a dispensation which 
is eminently " the ministration of the Spirit ?" Have we not heard 
that Christ is " the way to the Father ?" Have we not heard him say, 
" If any man love me, and keep my sayings, my Father will love him, 
and I and my Father will come to him, and take up our abode with 
him ?" Nay, read we not in St. Paul, that " he that is joined to the 
Lord is one spirit" with him 1 Shall we then chill and wither these 
glorious doctrines ? No, my brethren ; we will hold fast the testimony 
of God. He that seeks shall find him ; shall " walk with God ;" shall 
drink, not at the distant stream flowing only in the channel of the 
creature ; but at the Fount of life himself ; shall " see the Invisible" 
by faith ; shall converse with him, though not " face to face," yet 
thought to thought ; and prove how deep and rich is the meaning of 
the blessed words of the text, when applied to the experience of a truly 
spiritual man, " For in him we live, and move, and have our being." 

V. Our last illustration shall be taken from the revival and extension 
of religion. 

We are truly taught, that the good done upon earth is done by 
the Lord ; that, though Paul plant, and Apollos water, " God giveth the 
increase ;" that when the Lord buildeth up Zion, he " appears in his 
glory ;" that it is the Lord who " sends forth his labourers into the 
harvest ;" and that " in the latter days" there are promises which relate 
to the " pouring out" of his Spirit. These declarations bring God very 
near to his Church. Perhaps, indeed, the most illustrious instances in 
which our God makes " bare his holy arm in the sight of all the 
nations," by throwing off that veil of mystery which so often hides it, 
are found in the struggles and triumphs of his religion. The history 
of his Church is, for this very reason, chiefly, the most magnificent 
part of the world's story. The trials and the contests of the truth, of 
which she is the ground and the pillar, considered in connection with 
its endurance and unfailing vigour ; the holy blood which has conse- 
crated, the virtues which have illustrated, the great characters which 
have advocated it; the darkness it has dissipated, the enmity over 


which it has triumphed ; the blessings it has showered upon earth, the 
number of our race which it has glorified in heaven ; — these and many 
other views might be taken, which so powerfully tend to maintain in us 
the conviction that there is in the Church a mighty and constant work- 
ing of Him " that filleth all and in all," as to forbid the intrusion of any 
creature into this hallowed enclosure, except as the most humble 
instrument in his hands. Yet, even here also, is God often put far 
from us ; or so many other agents are placed between, that our sense 
of his immediate operation is either destroyed or greatly enfeebled. 

Christianity, it is allowed, is to become the religion of the world ; 
but then its ultimate prevalence may be easily accounted for, because 
Christianity is a rational religion, and the world is becoming enlight- 
ened by education. Great characters appear at intervals to revive and 
restore the faded lustre of the truth, and the languishing influence of 
piety ; but then, as it has been said of Luther, nature planted in him 
the elements of a vigorous character ; success flattered his first 
attempts to resist his superiors; political circumstances favoured the 
changes which he meditated; and thus we have the whole philosophy 
of the reformation ! A Wesley appears : he is naturally " ambitious ;" 
circumstances give to this mental quality a religious and a beneficial 
direction ; he has the skill to turn them to account ; and here is the 
complete rationale of the whole revival of religion in our day, and in 
these lands ! Missions to the heathen will succeed, because they 
derive their influence upon barbarous and semi-civilized nations from 
the superior intellectual power with which they are associated, the arts 
they communicate, and the connection which they establish, by means 
of commerce, with nations far in advance as to all the useful and 
refining institutions of society ! 

Such are some of the views on these solemn subjects with which 
men amuse themselves ; but I see nothing in them answering to the 
import of the text, " In him we live, and move, and have our being ;" 
or to the declaration, that he " worketh all in all." On this point, 
indeed, as on several before mentioned, we allow, that in what is thus 
urged there is much truth ; but the truth is either distorted, or turned 
into efficient error by the absence of other truths with which it ought 
to be connected. 

True, Christianity is a rational religion ; but if it is to make its way 
by the force of that consideration alone, why was it not at first most 
readily received by the wisest and best-disciplined minds, rather than 
by the unlettered and superstitious ? True, circumstances have an 
influence upon the characters and conduct of men ; but the characters 
and actions of holy, gifted, and devoted men create circumstances 
which they do not find, and that by the grace of God, " which is 
mighty in them," and which works in their hearts and lives that holi- 
ness, love, and zeal, by which, under the preparing influence of God, 
great masses of men are influenced. True, missions to the heathen 
derive, in many cases, great aid from superior intellectual power in 
the instruments ; from the knowledge of useful arts which they intro- 
duce ; and the connection into which they bring nations in an inferior 
state of civilization with the more cultivated states of the world ; but 
then do we need nothing more direct than that Divine arrangement 
which has associated these circumstances together in the way of 


providential government, " to convert a soul from the error of his 
ways," to turn the Gentiles "from darkness to light, and from the 
power of Satan unto God," that they may " obtain remission of their 
sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified ?" 

Surely, my brethren, God is not thus " far from us" in reviving, 
restoring, and diffusing the influence of his religion. For what is that 
religion ? Not " the letter," but " the Spirit ;" " a ministration" of the 
Holy Spirit himself. What are its ministers 1 They are indeed men ; 
but not men left to be formed or influenced by mere circumstances ; 
they are " called," " separated unto the Gospel of God," and derive 
their energy as instruments, when it is saving, from Him who has 
promised to be " with them alway, even to the end of the world," and 
to use and overrule all circumstances for the accomplishment of their 
high vocation. If God is not in his Church, where then shall we find 
him? But he is there by peculiar inhabitation, by special operation. 
To make this manifest, he descended in the visible tongues of fire on 
the day of pentecost ; to assure us of it, he hath said of Zion, " This 
is my rest for ever ; here will I dwell ; for I have desired it. I will 
clothe her priests with salvation, and make her saints joyful in good- 
ness." To show what he has to do in raising up eminent instruments, 
he met with Saul of Tarsus, on his persecuting errand to Damascus ; 
seized, in the very camp of the enemy, the instrument fitted by natural 
endowments for his purpose ; and bound the energies of that great and 
ardent mind to his own cause for ever. ■ To show that he is in his 
Church, he has defended it against united earth and united hell : to 
convince us that a power above all that is human is there, often when 
it has been " minished and brought low," and its root has been almost 
invisible in the earth, it has shot up into growth without human aid ; 
and, in despite of human scorn and neglect, waved its branches in the 
winds, and again defied the force of all the storms of heaven. To 
show that he is in his Church, the mighty primitive power of the 
Gospel, which is characterized as " the power of God unto salvation," 
remains unabated to this day. It still " pricks men in the heart ;" it 
wounds and it heals ; it converts and sanctifies ; it raises its shield of 
determined integrity against all temptations ; it quenches earthly de- 
sires ; it lifts the soul to holy converse with God ; it gives a triumph 
over death, as complete and glorious as when Stephen " fell asleep, 
calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ;" and it 
effects all these wherever it is preached in simplicity, and in recognition 
of the immediate co-operation of God with the instrument, and there 
only. Nor is the scene of its trial, the grand experiment, if we may 
so call it, confined to one place : it erects the monuments of its saving 
efficacy on all the shores of earth, and among the various tribes which 
inhabit them, that all the world may know that " God is with us, and 
that the shout of a king is among us." 

A few practical remarks may close the whole. 

1. If God is so " near to all that truly call upon him," be encouraged, 
then, thou dark and mournful spirit, to seek him until thou find him. 
Though thou see him not, " feel after him," in desire, in prayer, in the 
exercises of faith, however feeble. Thou canst not be more desirous 
to find him in his manifested character as God " forgiving iniquity, 
transgression, and sin," than he longs to reveal himself to thee. Say 


with David, " I wait upon God ; my soul doth wait, and in his word 
do I hope ; I wait for him more than they that wait for the morning ;" 
and thou shalt not be disappointed. " He is near that justifieth.;" " his 
word is for ever settled in heaven," — " And it shall come to pass, that 
they shall seek me and find me, when they seek for me with all their 

2. Let us all be encouraged by this blessed doctrine to seek a closer 
and more intimate fellowship with God. May I find him in my closet ? 
Then let me seek him there with all the earnestness of desire. May 
I find him in his temples ? Never niay I rest in the shadows and 
forms of outward services, which, when rightly understood, are but the 
tracks through which I must fly " to put my trust under the shadow 
of his wings." May I walk with God ? Let me aspire after the high, 
the hallowing privilege, to see the Invisible ; to know how it is that 
Christ dwelleth in the hearts of believers by faith; how he manifests 
himself to his disciples, and not unto the world. 

Finally, let us confidently trust the whole affairs of his Church with 
him. From that he is never " far." He has hitherto preserved, and 
will finally glorify it in the sight of all nations. " Kings shall bring 
their glory and honour unto it ; her walls shall be salvation, and her 
gates praise." Still nearer may he be felt through all her courts, by 
all her ministers, in all her ordinances, till she " girds herself every 
where with strength," and shines forth in perfect truth and holiness, 
as " the light of the world, the joy of the whole earth." 

Sermon IX. — The Miracles of Christ. 

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which 
are not written in this book : but these are written, that ye might believe that 
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God ; and that believing ye might have life through 
his name," John xx, 30, 31. 

" Signs" are miracles, — a branch of evidence to which our religion 
appeals as decisive of its truth and divinity 

The weight and sufficiency of this evidence may appear from uni- 
versal acknowledgment. Among all people, in all ages, the force of 
the argument which flows so immediately from it has been appreciated ; 
for the authors of all false religions have pretended miracles to establish 
their authority. 

Nor does this consideration weaken the argument from miracles in 
favour of Christianity. There could be no counterfeit coin were there 
no genuine mintage ; and false miracles had never been resorted to, 
had real miracles never been wrought. False religions appeal to false 
attestations ; the true, to those on which God himself has set the stamp 
and seal of his own eternal power. 

But what is a miracle ? 

It is not every extraordinary event which occurs in nature, although 
figuratively and popularly so denominated. There may be extraordinary 
floods, droughts, earthquakes, atmospherical appearances, meteors, 

Vol. I. 10 


changes in the animal economy, and unlooked-for coincidences of 
events ; and yet all may be resolved into the laws of the natural world, 
operating under peculiar circumstances, and none of them may neces- 
sarily suppose any special or immediate interposition of Deity, at least 
in order to authenticate any revelation of his will. Hence, not every 
portent which a people uninstructed in natural philosophy might be 
disposed to call miraculous, is to be clothed with that character; nor 
every occasional remarkable effect, which the wisest of men shall not 
be able to resolve into some known natural law, as the force of imagi- 
nation in curing certain kinds of diseases and infirmities. The effect 
may be shown from various circumstances to be natural only, although 
the law under which it is produced is yet unknown, and may, in all 
future time, elude the keenest investigation, and the most splendid 
course of philosophical discovery. But a miracle is an effect produced 
by the immediate interposition of God, contrary to or above the ordinary 
laws of nature, and that for the confirmation of some doctrine or message 
as from himself, and having his sanction, though it should be delivered 
to us by the ministry of men like ourselves. 

Having thus described the nature of a true miracle, considered in a 
theological view, I call your attention to " the signs" or miracles " which 
Jesus did." Many of these " mighty works" he performed in the pre- 
sence of his disciples, which they have recorded ; " many more," says 
St. John, " were done, which are not written," Divine wisdom permit- 
ting that the particulars of them should not be transmitted by inspired 
Scripture to a future age. But sufficient is the number recorded to lay 
a firm foundation for our faith, and through faith to effect our salvation. 
" These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, 
the Son of God ; and that believing ye might have life through his 

They are presented to our consideration under two views : — 

I. As bearing the unequivocal character of real miracles, and there- 
fore authenticating the mission and claims of Christ. 

II. As accompanied with interesting circumstances, and ministering 
to us various points of important instruction. 

I. As bearing the unequivocal character of real miracles, and there- 
fore authenticating the mission and claims of Christ. 

If the "signs which Jesus did" were true miracles, they prove the 
whole case ; he was in truth the " Messiah, the Son of God," the 
Teacher sent from God, the Saviour and the Judge of the world ; since 
they occurred, not as coincidences, but were actually wrought by him 
upon his own volition, and professedly in attestation of his mission 
and character. Now, in order to be impressed both with the truth and 
with the unequivocal character of these " signs," consider, 

1. Their number. In a solitary instance, there might be a plausible 
plea set up against the alleged miracle ; it might be said that there was 
some mistake, or deception, or exaggeration, or that the event was op- 
portunely coincident, and was therefore taken advantage of to gain 
credit to the new Teacher and the new religion. But the number " of 
the signs which Jesus did" shuts out this objection entirely. Very 
many instances are recorded by the evangelists, with great particularity 
of circumstances, such as names, places, times, the nature of the dis- 
eases cured, and the events preceding and following ; while they also 


refer to places and occasions in which our Lord healed " multitudes" 
of sick, lame, and possessed persons, who, at different times, during 
his public ministry, in various parts of Judea, Galilee, Decapolis, and 
the coasts of 'tyre and Sidon, were brought to him. So that, beside 
those particularly and circumstantially recorded in the Gospels, an 
immense number of similar instances were known to the inhabitants 
of all these regions, and of various cities where these " mighty works" 
were wrought, and had been witnessed by them. 

2. Their publicity. While, on the one hand, there was no ostenta- 
tion in the manner in which our Lord performed his works ; and on 
many occasions a manner so retiring as to fulfil the words of the pro- 
phet, " He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in 
the streets ;" by far the greater number of his miracles were of the 
most public nature. Neither publicity nor privacy was affected ; but 
they were wrought as circumstances arose, and as opportunities were 
presented, by the acts of others rather than by any arrangement of his 
own. They were wrought in the presence of his disciples, in the sight 
of multitudes in all parts of the country, in a great number of populous 
towns, in broad day, and, in fact, under the eye of a whole nation for 
nearly four years. 

3. The character of the witnesses. Even the disciples were not 
over credulous ; for they had this great stake at issue, to commit the 
case of their very salvation to one whose apparent character and claims 
were precisely opposed to those with which their imaginations had 
invested the true Messiah. In the multitude, the populace, there was 
no forwardness of faith, no eagerness to proclaim a lowly peasant, the 
Son of David, the King of Israel ; but there was another class of men, 
who tracked all the steps of our Lord, watching his actions as captiously 
as they " lay in wait to entrap him in his speech." It was under the 
scrutinizing eye of Pharisees and Sadducees, an eye sharpened by the 
mixed passions of hatred, envy, and fear, that those works were often 
performed. When he restored the man blind from his birth, both that 
person and his parents were closely cross-examined before the great 
council of the Jews ; and when Lazarus was raised from the dead, it 
was in the presence of many Jews of leading character and rank, who 
had come from Jerusalem. But even these men never denied the facts, 
and in reality fully acknowledged them in the wicked hypothesis they 
invented to account for them, so as to exclude the agency of God : 
" He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils." Out 
of their own mouth therefore were they judged, and by them were the 
facts themselves confessed. 

4. The nature of the works themselves. No class of events could 
be urged upon the attention of mankind, bearing stronger evidence of a 
supernatural character ; so that if " the signs which Jesus did " were not 
miracles, then miracles can have no existence, and it would be impos- 
sible for a Divine mission to be authenticated to mankind by this species 
of evidence. They are not of a nature to be referred to the possible 
effects of imagination ; nor to occult laws of nature, never till then 
developed ; nor to fortunate coincidences. The universal experience 
of man up to that time, and since that time, proves that they were not 
only above nature, but in many instances contrary to all its fixed and 
uniform laws ; so that we may say, with the blind man restored to sight 


by the very word of his Saviour, " Since the world began was it not 
heard that any man," any mere man, " opened the eyes of one that was 
born blind ;" or that any man cured the leprosy by a touch, raised the 
dead by a word, walked upon the yielding waters as upon a rock, 
or commanded the winds and the seas, so that they should obey his 

5. To all these we must add, that, during the life of Jesus and his 
disciples, during the very age and in the places where these " signs" 
were wrought, multitudes believed on him. Now the foundation of 
their faith was these very miracles themselves. Worldly inducements 
to encourage an imposture they had none, but the contrary ; their pre- 
judices and vices were not flattered, but contradicted and reproved : 
they had all these motives for unbelief, none for credulity ; and their 
conversion can only therefore be accounted for from the overwhelming 
evidences of the real occurrence and the unequivocally miraculous 
character of these " works of Jesus," upon which he and his disciples 
placed the proof of his Divine mission. They were themselves the 
witnesses of these " mighty works," or were surrounded by those who 
had been both the witnesses and, in many instances, the subjects of 
them ; and, constrained by this evidence, which they knew to be un- 
questioned, and felt to be unquestionable, they yielded to be baptized 
into his name, and to suffer, and even die, for his sake. We need not 
enlarge. The facts themselves being established, the conclusion is 
irresistible, that " Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God." 

II. The miracles of Christ are to be considered as accompanied with 
interesting circumstances, and as ministering to us various points of 
important instruction. 

" The signs which Jesus did," considered in these respects, form an 
almost inexhaustible subject ; and the difficulty is, to condense our 
views within reasonable limits. In a general and brief survey of the 
miracles of our Lord, we may, however, discover that they are varied 
by circumstances which enable us to distribute them into different 
classes, and thus to bring them more distinctly under our view as to 
the great truths which they were doubtless intended to impress upon 
our hearts. 

In the works of Christ there are, 

1. Miracles which were made subordinate to an explicit declaration 
of his Divinity. 

The Divine character of our Lord was indeed indicated by the very 
manner in which he performed his " mighty works." He wrought them, 
not in the name of another, but in his own name ; nor does he ever 
adopt the style of a servant. His attitude, his language, are always 
authoritative, never ministerial. " I say unto thee, Arise." " I com- 
mand thee to depart out of him." " He rebuked the fever, and it left 
her." This very manner distinguishes him from the prophets of the 
old, and the apostles of the new, dispensation. But we also see several 
of the miracles themselves employed as occasions to assert the loftiest 
claims of Divinity. Thus, in the case of a paralytic, Christ associates 
a miracle of healing with his authority as God to forgive sins. When 
the man was first brought, he does not heal him, but declares his sins 
forgiven. And when this startles the Pharisees, he performs the miracle 
in support of a prerogative which, as none can forgive sins but God, 


unveils at once his real character : " Whether is easier to say, Thy 
sins be forgiven thee ; or to say, Arise, and walk ? But that ye may 
know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he 
saith to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto 
thine house." Again : when, by a miraculous influence exerted upon 
them, he drove the buyers and sellers out of the temple, he not only, 
by a superhuman majesty of aspect, terrified the crowd of guilty pro- 
faners, but claimed as his own that temple in which he often appeared 
as a common worshipper : " My house shall be called a house of prayer ; 
but ye have made it a den of thieves." And when he cast out devils, 
they are sometimes constrained to confess him as the Son of God be- 
fore all the people ; and when they ask, on one occasion, " Art thou 
come to torment us before the time V they tremblingly acknowledge 
him to be the supreme and universal Judge, vested with the high and 
Divine prerogative of awarding the rewards and punishments of a 
future life. 

The same great truth shines forth, also, in a second class, which we 
may call, 

2. Miracles of impressive majesty. 

This, indeed, is a deeply interesting class of those " signs which 
Jesus did." He was to appear among men with great humility, and to 
sojourn with them in the utmost lowliness of condition. He was to be 
" despised and rejected of men ;" to submit to every indignity with 
patient resignation ; and, " as a sheep before her shearers is dumb," so 
was he not " to open his mouth." He was thus to live and thus to die ; 
and yet, even in these his days of humiliation, he was to gather a peo- 
ple to himself, who were to receive him as "the Son of God, the King 
of Israel," and so to believe in him as to commit their eternal all into 
his hands. Such a task had been too difficult for the strongest faith, 
much more for the hesitating and flitting belief of his disciples, had 
there not been among his works not merely the common miracles which 
authenticated the prophetic mission, but " signs" which should manifest 
his superior character and personal glory. The cloud which enveloped 
him during his humbled state on earth was dark ; but it was the cloud 
of the Shechinah ; it was the Lord who " dwelt in the thick darkness ;" 
and the shrouded Divinity occasionally beamed forth. Long continued 
was his humiliation ; but these bursts of a superior nature, though 
transient, gave new impulses to a failing faith, or at. least held unbelief 
in suspense until the final demonstration was given, that " he who 
emptied himself," and " made himself of no reputation," was " in the 
form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God." 

Under his benediction bread multiplies, and thousands are fed in a 
wilderness ; he walks upon the sea, and the yielding element sinks not 
beneath his footsteps ; amidst the uproar of a storm he utters his simple 
command, " Peace, be still," and the winds hear, and die away : " the 
waters saw thee, God, the waters saw thee, and were afraid." At 
the mouth of the sepulchre he cries, " Lazarus, come forth !" and the 
dead, aroused by his voice, and loosed from his grave clothes, falls at 
the feet of him who is " the Resurrection and the Life ;" and the whole 
series of these acts of majesty is crowned by the miracle of his own 
resurrection in the moment when the last spark of faith in the hearts 
of his followers quivered on the point of extinction. Then He, the 


Conqueror of death in his own dominion, appears in the midst of them, 
and says, " Peace be unto you." Ah ! who that considers such " signs" 
as these, such manifestations of a Divine majesty, but, with Thomas, 
must fall at his feet, and exclaim, " My Lord and my God !" 

3. Miracles of tenderness. 

The works of our Lord were uniformly benevolent ; and his fame, 
as uniting equal benignity and power, spread so wide, and inspired 
such confidence, that wondering multitudes brought the sick, the lame, 
the possessed, and the blind, out of whole regions of country, " and he 
healed them all." But some of these works were characterized by or 
accompanied with circumstances of peculiar tenderness, and are 
recorded with the manifest design to encourage, in all future times, an 
unlimited confidence in his compassion and condescension. 

The people, attracted by his teaching, follow him into the wilderness. 
As they had continued with him three days, and had consumed their 
provisions, he would not send them home hungry, " lest they should 
faint by the way ;" and he multiplies the bread by miracle, and feeds 
them all. " He went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their 
synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing 
every sickness and disease among the people ;" and as he was thus 
showing his compassion to their bodies, by diffusing health and life 
wherever he came, the sight of so great a multitude, a whole people 
without faithful and instructed ministers, causes a deeper flow of com- 
miserating tenderness for their religious destitution and dangers ; " and 
when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, 
because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no 
shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is 
plenteous, but the labourers are few ; pray ye therefore the Lord of the 
harvest, that he will send labourers into his harvest." 

But to the griefs and sorrows produced in families by sickness and 
death our Lord was particularly and affectingly sensible ; and to relieve 
those cases where human nature is pierced most deeply through its 
most amiable sensibilities he was specially prompt. A nobleman 
brings the case of his sick son ; and the anxious feeling of the parent 
is met by the instant declaration, " Go thy way, thy son liveth." — 
Another still more agonized father comes " kneeling to him, sa) r ing. 
Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic, and sore vexed." The 
attitude of the suppliant, and his amplification of the miseries of the 
child, show the intensity of the father's feelings. Nay, more ; he had 
been painfully disappointed ; he had brought his child to the disciples, 
and they could not cure him for want of faith. But shall he depart 
from the Master unhelped ? No. " Bring him to me," said Jesus ; and 
he rebuked the evil spirit, and the child was restored from that hour. 
In going into the city of Nain, Jesus and his disciples met a funeral ; 
and the evangelist seems to have recorded certain affecting circum- 
stances on purpose to show us how they wrought upon the sympathetic 
mind of our Lord. The deceased was a son, the only son of his mother, 
and that mother was a widow. The bereaved mother herself was fol- 
lowing weeping, and many people of the city with her. Such a scene 
our Lord could not pass by ; and when he saw her, " he had compas- 
sion on her, and said unto her, Weep not ;" and, having stopped the 
bier, he raised the youth to life, and with his own hand " he delivered 


him to his mother." The story of the raising of Lazarus is equally 
familiar to you, and I need not dwell upon it. Jesus " groaned in 
spirit," " Jesus wept ;" and the majesty of his triumph over death was 
equalled by the triumph of his compassion. He healed the breach made 
by death in a family of disciples, and wiped away then, as he will at 
last, all tears from the eyes of those who love him and are loved 
by him. 

Why all these instances, and many others, of so affecting a tender- 
ness and so deep a sympathy with human wo ? Why, but as proofs of 
that great fact so strongly expressed by St. Paul, and which the 
splendour of the accompanying miracles was designed to render the 
more impressive, that he is a High Priest who can be " touched with 
the feeling of our infirmities," and who, having been tempted in all 
points like ourselves, knows how to succour them that are tempted ? 

4. Another class of miracles was obviously didactic, or designed to 
impress upon our minds some important point of doctrine. 

When our Lord wrought a miracle to obtain a sum sufficient to pay 
the tribute money demanded of him and Peter, he intended to teach his 
disciples subjection to the fiscal laws of the power of which they might 
be the subjects, and to pay " custom to whom custom, tribute to whom 
tribute, honour to whom honour," are due. When, by a miraculous 
impression, he drove the traders from the temple, he taught that the 
places and the acts of worship are to be kept scrupulously free from 
the intrusions and distractions of secular things. The miraculous 
draught of fishes was designed to indicate the success of the apostles 
in their work of evangelizing all nations ; for he immediately subjoins 
the moral, " Fear not, Simon, from henceforth thou shalt catch men ;" 
and then they forsook all and followed him, as well understanding his 
meaning, in order to be fully trained for this glorious ministry. Per- 
haps, too, by this miraculous draught of fishes he intimated to them a 
truth which they at least afterward well understood and habitually 
recognized, — that their success in the ministry of the Gospel would be 
the sole result of the same miraculous power working in the depths of 
the hearts of men, which had wrought an effect in the depths of the 
ocean ; so wondrous, too, as to be a certain demonstration, that the 
effect was not to be attributed to the skitl of the fishermen, but to the 
power of God alone. 

Several other instances might be given ; but it must often have in 
particular impressed you, that the miracles of our Lord were, in a great 
number of instances, intended to teach, 

5. The duty and necessity of faith ; that is, a personal trust in his 
power and mercy. This is so important to us, that we may dwell upon 
it a little more at large. 

As mere proofs of Christ's mission, his miracles of healing had been 
quite as strong, if he had not required faith, as an act of trust, from the 
persons who applied to him for relief, since they might have been 
appealed to by himself and his followers with equal force of argument, 
independent of the inward previous moral disposition of those who 
were the subjects of his healing power ; and, in fact, are always so 
appealed to, when adduced as proofs of the claims of Christ, without 
any allusion to the circumstance whatever. This shows that our Lord 
intended, in such cases, something beyond increasing the number of 


those miraculous attestations which proved his mission to be from God. 
He taught, in fact, that something more than mere assent, however 
deeply founded in conviction, would be required of men in order to their 
salvation. The faith which his religion was to make the condition of 
justification and sanctification, and all other spiritual blessings, was to 
be a personal trust in his power and grace ; and he singularly honoured 
such a faith in those who came to seek relief from him for their various 
bodily infirmities, manifestly in order to show how he would honour it 
in us, whenever exercised. Mark the striking character of the instances 
by which this is illustrated. A leper comes in this faith, and, worship- 
ping him, says, " Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean ;" and 
the confidence so simply but emphatically expressed met with its 
instant reward. " And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, say- 
ing, I will, be thou clean ; and immediately his leprosy was cleansed." 

A centurion sends to Christ, praying that he would come and heal 
his servant ; but, as he was drawing near, sends other messengers, 
saying, " Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my 
roof; wherefore, neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee; 
but s-ay in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a 
man set under authority, having soldiers under me ; and I say unto one, 
Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh ; and to my 
servant, Do this, and he doeth it." Here was faith ! He declared, in 
fact, his full persuasion that our Lord had as absolute a. command over 
diseases as he himself had over the soldiers placed under him ; and 
that he had only to bid them come or go, and they would obey him. — 
Hence, though Christ should remain at a distance from the diseased 
person, he believed that he had only to " speak the word, and his 
servant should be healed." This faith was not only commended by 
our Lord, but honoured and confirmed. He did not go to the house ; 
but he uttered his command, and " they that were sent returned to the 
house, and found the servant whole that had been sick." The disease 
had indeed obeyed the command of Omnipotence, and had fled ! 

That is a beautiful and affecting instance we before referred to, and 
which is recorded in Mark ix. A father brings his child sorely 
tormented by an evil spirit, the subject of long and terrible suffering ; 
and to his imploring solicitation, " If thou canst do any thing, have com- 
passion on us, and help us," Jesus replies, " If thou canst believe, all 
things are possible to him that believeth ;" and the poor man, in an 
affecting struggle between faith and doubt, cries out " with tears," 
sufficiently expressive of the violence of the inward conflict, " Lord, I 
believe ; help thou mine unbelief." Even this staggering, wavering 
faith, the faith which, weak as it was, still struggled for the victory in 
an honest mind, was not rejected, and the child was healed. " thou 
of little faith," that hearest this, be thou of good courage ; try the same 
experiment ; put forth all the strength of thy faith, feeble as it may be ; 
let it wrestle with thy unbelief ; let it be exercised in its measure ; and 
thou shalt not be disappointed of the blessing for which thou also art 
entreating thy Saviour. 

But the most singular case is that of the Syro-Phenician woman.— 
First she utters her loud and plaintive cry, " Have mercy upon me, 
Lord, thou Son of David ! My daughter is grievously vexed with a 
devil." No small degree of faith, indeed, was implied in this address 


itself ; but it was to be severely tried, and more gloriously manifested : 
— " But he answered her not a word." Next the disciples themselves 
intercede for her : " Send her away," by granting her request, " For 
she crieth after us ;" she is exceedingly distressed and importunate. 
But he answered and said, " I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel." Even these cold words, pronounced in her hearing, 
did not cast her into despair ; for " she came and worshipped him ;" 
and in one of those short bursts of desire from a full heart, which ex- 
press more than many words, she exclaims, " Lord, help me !" Our 
Lord's next reply was still more appalling, still more out of his usual 
manner : " But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the chil- 
dren's bread and to cast it to the dogs ;" purposely using the reproach- 
ful language of his countrymen to the Gentiles, in order to put her faith 
to a still sharper test. But even this saying, which must have withered 
the strongest faith, had it not been secretly sustained by his own influ- 
ence, only gives rise to an ingenious plea, suggested at once by the 
strongest desire and the deepest humility : " And she said, Truth, Lord ; 
yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table." — 
Her request was granted. At first sight our Lord seems to yield to 
importunity ; but no, it was to faith : " woman, great is thy faith ;" 
faith far above the ordinary measure : faith which had to triumph not 
only over the difficulty of the case, but over the chilling repulsiveness 
of our Lord's manner and replies ; faith whose eagle eye seemed to 
search every feature of his countenance ; which penetrated into his 
very heart, saw compassion rising there, fixed on that alone, urged the 
plea with reiterated earnestness, and carried off the blessing. 

What, then, were all these instances designed to teach, but the ne- 
cessity and acceptableness of faith in our case also ; to excite an entire 
and filial confidence in all his people, in all ages, and in all their afflic- 
tions and sorrows " of mind, body, and estate ?" He is Jesus .still ; he 
honours the trust which honours his faithfulness and love, and to this 
moment " all things are possible to him that believeth." " Trust ye then 
in the Lord for ever ; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." 

Lastly, we have typical miracles. 

I call many of " the signs which Jesus did" typical, because they 
appear to have been intended to represent and symbolize something 
higher and greater than themselves, great and illustrious as they were ; 
and because they appear to have been a designed mode of teaching 
by action. 

Our Lord's absolute power over the elements and laws of nature, so 
often and so illustriously demonstrated in many instances, indicated 
that the government of the natural world was placed in his hands as 
Mediator. He rules, he sustains, and he will destroy it. 

Devils were subject to his word and name ; and this showed forth a 
doctrine which might well spread joy through the whole earth, that he 
came to establish a dominion which should first control, and finally 
subvert, that dark and fatal empire which Satan had established in the 
human heart, and over the whole world. In the anticipation of this, 
he rejoiced in spirit, and said, " I beheld, and, lo, Satan as lightning 
fell from heaven !" and he left an apostle to give the moral application 
when he was inspired to say, " For this purpose was the Son of God 
manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." 


When he was miraculously transfigured before his disciples, he ex- 
hibited a most impressive type of that glory into which he was himself 
about to enter, and into which he purposed, also, to introduce his disci- 
ples, that they might behold and partake of it for ever. 

When the band came to apprehend him, and he by putting forth but 
for a moment a supernatural power, and speaking with but a mitigated 
accent of authority, arrested the arresters, so that " they all went back- 
ward and fell to the ground," he showed with what ease he can con- 
found his adversaries ; and indicated that more terrible manifestation 
of his majesty, when the proudest potentates of earth, with, all their 
princes and nobles, shall cry out at his second advent, " Rocks, fall on 
us ! and mountains, hide us !" 

When, while in the act of dying, he rent the earth, and opened the 
graves, so that many of the saints came forth, he gathered the first 
fruits of his people from the grave, and then exhibited a type of the 
general resurrection, when " the dead in Christ shall rise first." And 
the miracle of his own resurrection was not only the grand proof of his 
mission, but the type and pattern of our triumph over death and the 
grave. It taught that the same body shall be raised ; that " this mortal 
shall put on immortality ;" and that human nature glorified shall be- 
come a permanent inhabitant of heaven. 

Some useful conclusions may now be drawn from the whole subject. 

1. We are reminded of the practical character of the Holy Scrip- 

" These are written that ye might believe ;" but many other works 
were done " which are not written in this book." Enough, however, 
is recorded for practical uses ; the rest are reserved to the revelations 
of a future state ; when, under other circumstances, they will have 
their practical uses too, though not fitted, or not necessary, for the 
present. Let us remember that we are rather to improve what is re- 
corded, than repine that not more has been written to gratify our curi- 
osity. There is doubtless a kind wisdom in these reserves, as well as 
a sovereign authority to which we are to submit. That what would 
now be a matter of mere curiosity is hidden from us, shows how intent 
our Saviour is upon our real edification. This short life is the time 
of action : contemplation is reserved for eternity. It is enough that 
we may be made " wise unto salvation ;" enough that we may attain the 
"wisdom from above," that which is sufficient to render us "first pure, 
then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and 
good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy ;" and that the 
" Scripture, given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for 
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man 
of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." If 
what is written produces these results in us, then it is sufficient for 
this life : if it produces them not, a larger revelation, a more copious 
record, would have been vouchsafed in vain. 

2. These things are written, " that ye might believe that Jesus is 
the Christ, the Son of God." 

These are the chief foundations of the Christian faith. " The Son 
of God" is the Divine designation ; " the Christ" is the official name 
of the Redeemer of the world. As the Son of God, he is Divine ; 
" Light of Light, very God of very God ; begotten, not made ; of one 


substance with the Father." This was a claim of his which the Jews, 
who well enough understood that it involved Divinity, spurned with af- 
fected horror, and for which they put him upon his trial as a blasphemer ; 
but " the signs which Jesus did" gave ample evidence that it was no 
robbery in him to equal himself with God ; and these signs were re- 
corded that we might believe this great and fundamental truth, that he 
is truly God. If we refuse this, we refuse " to honour the Son as we 
honour the Father ;" we give up along with this doctrine, and that 
necessarily, the doctrine also of Christ's atonement, and thus change 
the whole foundation of his religion. Most perilous is this opposition 
to the plainest testimony of God in his word, and to the evidence of 
Christ's illustrious miracles : it is to stumble with the Jew ; like him 
to fall into deadly error, and, while professing superior revelation, to 
draw the veil over the heart. Let us beware, lest we also be led 
astray " by the error of the wicked," and " fall from the steadfastness 
of our faith in Christ, as the true God, and the eternal life." 

But the Son of God is " the Christ :" he became so by assuming 
our nature, and appearing in our world. This title includes all his 
offices. He is the anointed Prophet, the anointed Priest, and the 
anointed King. If we believe on him, therefore, aright, as the Christ, 
we shall renounce the authority of all other teachers, and sit only at 
his feet, devoutly, and in entire submission, to learn his words. We 
shall renounce all other propitiations or pleas of merit, and repose our 
confidence upon the sacrifice for sin which he made by the shedding 
of his most precious blood ; and through that alone look for the pardon 
of sin, the sanctification of our nature, and eternal life. We shall 
practically acknowledge him to be our Lord, as well as our Saviour, 
and subject ourselves wholly to the rule of his will, and the control of 
his gracious authority ; renouncing all other rules of conduct, and ad- 
mitting of no appeal from his claim of absolute and eternal right to all 
we have and all we are. 

3. We are taught, that the consequence of a true faith in Christ is 
life : " That believing ye may have life through his name." 

A mere doctrinal faith, however correct, cannot of itself lead to this 
result ; but the personal trust which is exercised by a penitent heart, 
fully awakened to its dangers, and brought off from every other hope, 
obtains the life which is promised in Christ Jesus our Lord. The 
sentence of condemnation is reversed ; and spiritual life, the result of 
the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and giving strength to all holy affec- 
tions and holy exercises, becomes the subject of present, daily, and 
growing experience. By this let us try our faith. If we have believed 
aright, we so live. " We are alive from the dead ;" we are " passed 
from death unto life ;" " we live, yet not we, but Christ that liveth in 
us ; and the life that we live in the flesh, we live by the faith of the 
Son of God, who hath loved us, and given himself for us." Nor can 
that eternal life in heaven, which is promised to believers, follow a 
faith which brings us not into the enjoyment of this life of grace on 
earth. This life, in all its stages, from its commencement to its con- 
summation in glory, is obtained only through " the name" of our Sa- 
viour ; that is to say, through his power, merit, and agency. This is 
that " name" in which the Gentiles were " to trust." It comprehends 
all that faith can require in order to exert its strongest confidence ; it 


is a name of power, and a name of love, as all his mighty works on 
earth then testified, and still testify to all succeeding ages. In all sea- 
sons, when pressed by the weight of guilt, we penitently look to him 
for pardon ; in sickness, sorrow, temptation, or any other adversity, 
when we fly to him for " grace to help in time of need ;" and when, 
even in the agonies of our mortal struggle, we fix our believing look 
upon Him who is the resurrection and the life, that " name to sinners 
dear," that " name to sinners given," shall scatter all our fears, and en- 
courage us to look up with joyful confidence. Thou canst, for thou art 
all power ; and thou wilt, for thou art all love. On this our faith may 
assuredly rest ; and he who so believes " shall never be confounded " 

Sermon X. — The Evils of Ignorance. 

Preached in Mount Tabor Chapel, Stockport, March 9, 1806, for the Benefit of 
the Methodist Sunday School, 


When the following discourse was composed, nothing was farther from the 
intention of the author than its publication. It was got up for the occasion in 
haste, and after delivery was thrown aside as useless. To the solicitations of 
those who heard it, and not to the vanity and presumption of the speaker, it owes 
its introduction to public notice. A few casual and verbal intimations might have 
been disregarded ; but a written request, signed by a number of very respectable 
names, was scarcely to be resisted. 

Had the discourse been written with a view to publication, both the style and 
the arrangement would have been altered -, but the author is not now at liberty 
to depart from either. The free and popular style of the pulpit is retained, and 
nothing important is added or diminished. 

" My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," Hosea iv, 6. 

Though to the serious observer nothing can be more evident than 
that the greatest part of the evil and misery which exist in and afflict 
society must be attributed to the " lack of knowledge," yet persons 
have not been wanting to stand forth as the champions of ignorance, 
and to lend their aid to preserve and to extend the empire of darkness. 
Whether such characters have wished for a monopoly of knowledge 
to enhance their own importance, or have attempted to keep the human 
mind in its native state of imbecility, the more effectually to bend the 
multitude to a compliance with their designs ; or whether they are to 
be considered as ferocious and determined enemies to their fellow men, 
who, like the beasts of the forest, anxiously wait the return of night 
to rush out upon the unguarded and unsuspecting, to tear and to 
destroy ; — whether these, or any of these, have been the motives 
which have led to a conduct at once impolitic and unchristian, it is not 
my business now to determine. One thing, however, is evident, — that 


humanity, reason, and religion, all join in condemning the attempt, and all 
conspire to prevent its success. Thank God, it cannot be successful. 
The sun of knowledge is risen, and darts toward the meridian ; and 
though those who " love darkness rather than light" may look out from 
their murky dens, and hoot at the diffusive radiance, its orb stands too 
high for them to reach, and its beams spread too wide for them to 

How opposite is the conduct of God ! Dwelling himself in light, 
•' he hath showed thee, man, what is good ;" he distributes over thy 
path the illuminations of his wisdom. How contrary was the conduct 
of Jesus ! A Teacher sent from God, he developed the mysteries of 
his kingdom in a language familiar to the ears of the poor, and by 
allusions which might convey them to the capacities of the illiterate, 
that the benefit of his instructions might take a wider range, and the 
consolations of his religion be universally enjoyed. How different, 
also, the character and conduct of the true disciples of Jesus ! " In 
the midst of a crooked and perverse generation," says an apostle, " ye 
shine as the lights of the world ; holding forth," holding up, displaying 
" the word of life." 

I need not ask my hearers which of these descriptions of character 
they prefer. Your attendance on the present occasion sufficiently 
proves that you wish to disseminate knowledge, and to promote the 
happiness of society, by giving your sanction and support to an insti- 
tution which proposes these as its immediate objects ; and which, under 
the blessing of God, has already, in a good degree, accomplished them. 
It is, therefore, with the greatest confidence that I lay before you the 
subject of this evening's discourse, in the following observations, sug- 
gested by the words of our text. 

I. Ignorance is destructive : " My people are destroyed for lack of 

II. That to counteract the destructive effects of ignorance, by the 
dissemination of knowledge, is a work of humanity, of patriotism, and 
of virtue. 

I. 1. Ignorance is destructive of the dignity of man. 

" There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth 
him understanding." The faculties of knowledge, reason, judgment, 
and voluntary determination distinguish us from the beasts that perish, 
and constitute the true dignity of our nature. " God, our Maker, hath 
made us to know more than the beasts of the field, and to be wiser 
than the fowls of heaven." But faculties and powers are of little 
value till they are brought into exercise, and directed to their proper 
objects. They are, in this case, like the seed of vegetables cast upon 
the way-side, which, though it contains the rudiments of the future 
plant, and possesses the faculty or power of vegetation, exists without 
end and without use, and must be cast into the earth, moistened by the 
" fatness of the clouds," invigorated by the rays of the sun, and tended 
by the assiduous care of the husbandman, before it can bring forth fruit, 
yield its increase, and answer its designed purpose in the creation of 
God. So it is with man. Instruction is to him what culture is to the 
plant ; and when he is deprived of its aid, his powers either remain 
wholly latent, or their exercises, like the produce of the uncultivated 
plant, are wild and worthless. Life is spent in a vacant stupidity, or 


distracted by the ebullitions of a heated and irregular imagination, 
judgment is perverted by prejudices, and reason subjected to vicious 
affections. The conduct, which ought to have been the result of judg- 
ment and prudence, is impelled by sense and appetite ; and he whose 
powers, had they been rightly improved, would have allied him to 
angels, and stamped upon his nature the image of God, is reduced to 
a situation little superior to the irrational part of the creation; the 
subject of instinct, and the slave of passion. 
2. Ignorance destroys the usefulness of man. 
" Knowledge is power, and wisdom is better than strength." Know- 
ledge constitutes the whole difference between savage and civilized 
society ; for to the improvement of the mind all nations have owed the 
improvement of their condition. The comforts and conveniences of 
life, useful arts, salutary laws, and good governments, are all the pro- 
ductions of knowledge. Ignorance is the negative of every thing good 
and useful. It is the darkness of night in which man slumbers away 
an unprofitable and miserable life ; a darkness which the rays of 
knowledge must disperse, before he will awake to exercise, and rise 
into improvement. Some, it is true, have supposed that it is sufficient 
for every purpose of national interest, if a few be enlightened, if a few 
be wise. But let it be remembered, that it is not in the refinements 
of philosophy, or in speculative science, that society is so much inte- 
rested, as in the diffusion of that common and useful knowledge which 
adapts itself to supply the wants, and to ameliorate the condition of 
man. Then only is it that one individual of a community becomes 
useful to another; and the whole derives energy and perfection by the 
combinations of varied genius and united exertion. A very few 
philosophers are sufficient even for a refined nation ; but if knowledge 
be prevented from spreading itself through the inferior ranks of society, 
disorganization, savage independence, and barbarian stupidity must be 
the unavoidable consequences. 

But ignorance not only renders the members of a community useless 
to each other, but opposes, and frequently triumphs over all the endea- 
vours of humane and enlightened individuals. How often have the 
salutary measures of the patriotic statesman, the discoveries of the 
sagacious philosopher, the improvements of the ingenious artist, and 
the benevolent institutions of the disinterested philanthropist been 
rendered abortive and useless by popular ignorance and popular pre- 
judice ! The despotism of ignorance is of the most imperious nature. 
Its possession of the human mind, at the age of maturity, is firm and 
resisting ; and it is only by a kind of force that knowledge gains 
admission. Least of all is man willing to admit religious knowledge ; 
and the observation of an infallible discerner of the human heart is 
justified by facts which are ever occurring : " Light is come into the 
world, but men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are 
evil." By this disposition the effects of the Gospel are prevented, and 
the usefulness of its ministers destroyed. Minds wholly uncultivated 
are averse to serious thought, and are only conversant with sensible 
objects. They pass through life occupied only by the present, without 
reflecting often on the past, or feeling solicitous about the future. — 
From this springs their aversion to the Gospel ; for whoever receives 
it must become serious and thoughtful. His attention must be thrown 


back on the past, that the recollection of sin may produce repentance ; 
and it must also be engaged by the future, that the great objects of 
eternity may suitably impress his feelings, and regulate his conduct. 
The mind must be engaged in searching after truth, and the judgment 
employed in discriminating doctrines. But these exercises, so essential 
to the promotion and perfection of piety, the ignorant assiduously avoid ; 
and therefore, owing to their own obstinacy and neglect, we preach 
doctrines which they do not comprehend ; duties, of which they dis- 
cover not the necessity ; and propose motives, which their minds are 
not improved sufficiently to feel. Yes ; ignorance destroys the useful- 
ness of man ; and they especially who minister in holy things, even 
after the'plainest and most intelligible instructions, are often constrained 
to cry, " that they were wise, that they understood this ! The ox 
knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib ; but Israel doth not 
know, this people do not consider." 

3. Ignorance is destructive of virtue. 

Virtue can no more exist without knowledge, than an animal can 
exist without life. In proportion, therefore, as ignorance prevails in 
society, virtue is destroyed ; and though we cannot say, on the con- 
trary, that in proportion as knowledge is disseminated, virtue will 
prevail, — for there may be knowledge without virtue, — yet, when the 
doctrines of religious science are generally known, the elements and 
materials of virtue are proportionably distributed ; and by zeal and 
assiduity, accompanied by the blessing of God, virtue itself may be 
produced. In this case we labour in hope ; but ignorance presents us 
with nothing but despair. Ignorant men may possibly be made enthu- 
siasts ; they may be made superstitious ; but before they can be made 
rational, steady, and consistent Christians, they must be enlightened. 

Consider the nature of virtue. Is it obedience ? Obedience must 
have a law ; and the law and its obligation must be known before it 
can influence ; for virtuous obedience is the result of choice, and not 
of necessity. Does virtue consist in the love and fear of God ? His 
amiableness must be known before we can love him, and his majesty 
revealed before we can venerate him. Is it Christian virtue to submit 
to the authority of Christ, as a Teacher sent from God 1 If it be not 
from conviction and evidence that we do this, which supposes previous 
knowledge and deliberation, it would be equally virtuous to call our- 
selves the disciples of Mohammed, or Zoroaster, or Confucius, as the 
disciples of Christ. The same may be affirmed of every other branch 
of virtue. There is no part of religion but stands upon some doctrine ; 
and a doctrine, in the nature of the thing, must be an object of know- 
ledge before it can become an object of rational faith 

That ignorance is destructive of virtue, is proved by facts as well 
as arguments. Search the records of heathenism, and let them testify, 
that when men " did not like to retain God in their knowledge, he gave 
them over to a reprobate mind. They were filled with all unrighteous- 
ness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness ; full of 
envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity." Search the cords even of 
the Christian Church ; let them testify, that when the simple worship 
and the noble doctrines of Christ were corrupted by the superstitions 
of Jews and pagans ; when truth, clear as the day, and luminous as a 
sunbeam, was exchanged for mummery and mystery, holy absurdities 


and sanctified nonsense ; when the mind was narrowed up by human 
creeds, and its exercises restrained by legal penalties ; when bishops 
could not write, and priests scarcely read ; — then the light which God 
had once kindled up in his Church was extinguished; a darkness 
which might be felt spread over the whole body ; and, with the destruc- 
tion of knowledge, came also the destruction of virtue. Piety was 
displaced by superstition ; bigotry and furious zeal were erected on 
the ruins of meekness and charity; passions, fierce as hell, and 
insatiable as the grave, were kindled up in the human breast ; and 
priests and people wallowed together in the sink of the grossest 
corruption. Facts are striking ; thousands might be adduced to 
prove what has been asserted, that ignorance is destructive of 

4. Ignorance is destructive of happiness. 

There is a pleasure in knowledge of a kind more pure and elevated 
than can possibly be found in any of the gratifications of sense, and for 
which the latter are but unworthy substitutes. Ignorance is a state, cold 
and cheerless, in which the finer feelings of the human soul are locked 
up, and man is deprived of the enjoyment which results from their exer- 
cise and perfection. All the pleasures of the uninformed, if pleasures 
they can be called, arise only from outward objects ; and when they are 
satiated with these, or deprived of the opportunity of resorting to them, 
having no mental resources, no power of producing enjoyment from their 
own thoughts and reflections, they sink into a vacancy and torpor, little 
superior to idiotism itself. This is, perhaps, the reason why such cha- 
racters, in the intervals of labour, fly from themselves, and fill up their 
leisure hours with the grossest indulgences of intemperance. Intel- 
lectual vigour they do not possess ; and the ambition of improvement 
they do not feel ; they shun the company of the wise and sober, where 
they sink by comparison ; and, mingling with the dregs of society, they 
corrupt by their practice, and destroy by their example. 

But of the pleasure which springs from knowledge, and especially 
from that knowledge which the Holy Scriptures communicate, we 
cannot conceive too highly. To know God ; to contemplate the 
perfections of his nature, and the wonders of his hand ; to become 
acquainted with that regular and orderly plan by which he governs his 
creatures ; to observe his watchful care and providential regard ; to 
behold the wonders of redemption, the character and undertaking of 
Jesus, the doctrines he hath taught, the duties he hath enforced, the 
promises he hath given ;-to discover the means of salvation, the eco- 
nomy of the invisible world, and the continuance of our own existence 
in that immortality which is brought to light by the Gospel : these and 
many other subjects of equal importance, when opened to the mind, 
not only give pleasure as speculative discoveries, and the solutions of 
distressing doubts, but, by awakening virtuous sentiments, kindling an 
ardent and elevated devotion, giving support and reasonableness to 
hope, and influencing to the conscientious discharge of every religious 
and moral duty, produce also the testimony of a good conscience, and 
the favour of God ; the present possession of the peace of the Gos- 
pel, and the prospect of a future fulness of joy in the presence of God 
for ever. 

On the other hand, let us view the misery of man, when destitute of 


this information, and of those principles which it is its natural ten- 
dency to fix in the mind. 

Regard him as an individual : a slave to his appetites and propensities 
he debases the man into the brute, blunts the edge of every tender feel- 
ing, and hardens himself against every generous emotion. Conscience, 
so repeatedly insulted, ceases to warn him of danger ; and his pas- 
sions, rendered licentious by indulgence, carry him beyond the power 
of resistance, to every object they propose, however unlawful and how- 
ever injurious. The frequency of practice confirms his habits, till they 
become too imperious to admit of the smallest hope of reformation, and 
leave us no other prospect than that of a rational and immortal crea- 
ture, formed for communion with his God in this world, and intended 
to participate his glory in the world to come, filling up the measure of 
his iniquities, and ripening for destruction. 

Consider him as the head of a family : his house was never sancti- 
fied to God by prayer and thanksgiving ; it is the abode of licentious- 
ness and discord. His children are uninstructed ; they grow in per- 
verseness ; they mature in iniquity. He is a father without authority, 
and without honour. He entails upon his offspring the curse of his 
example, and they, in return, curse his memory. 

View him at death. Ah ! how dreadful ! Agitated by fears, chas- 
tised by conscience, alarmed by danger ; ashamed of the past, shudder- 
ing at the future, without help, and without hope ! He is driven away 
in his wickedness, to await in fearful anxiety, the awful retribution of 
the last day ! 

Having pointed out the destructive effects of ignorance, we observe, 

II. That to counteract these effects, by the dissemination of know- 
ledge, is a work of humanity, of patriotism, and of virtue. 

I know of none who have opposed the communication of knowledge 
to the lower ranks of society, but the idle and the ignorant, the design- 
ing and the wicked. The wise and good have always given their 
sanction and their aid to popular instruction. They have endeavoured 
to promote it, as an end, in every point of view, important ; and, in the 
accomplishment of which, not only individual benefit, but government, 
religion, and morality, are intimately concerned. Wisdom and bene- 
volence have, in this respect, gone about doing good. They have 
founded colleges, academies, schools, and libraries ; they have appoint- 
ed teachers, from the professor in the university, to the humble, but 
respectable, retailer of learning in the country village. Something 
more was, however, still wanting ; a great proportion of children re- 
mained untaught, and consequently a great part of the community be- 
came ignorant and vicious. Sunday schools were projected ; and 
when the trial was made, it was found successful ; and experience has 
now shown that the sanguine expectations of the first patrons of these 
institutions were well founded. 

Their establishment was seasonable. It took place soon after the 
general introduction of those mechanical improvements into the manu- 
factories of this country, by which employment was given to children/ 
and by which they were consequently confined. This system would 
certainly have gone very far toward the extinction of the small degree 
of knowledge which existed in the lower classes, had it not been for 
the Sunday schools. 

Vol. I. 11 


The institution was hopeful. Its subjects were children, who, like 
the softened wax, are capable of taking almost any form, and of receiv- 
ing' almost any impression. 

Its objects were important : to teach these children useful know- 
ledge, to instruct them in the duties and doctrines of religion, to habitu- 
ate them to attend and to respect the worship of God, to supply the 
wants of one generation, and to prevent those of another ; and, by a 
double blessing, to make those useful members of society, who other- 
wise would be burdensome and pernicious. 

One of these charities you, my auditors, are called upon this evening 
to support. 

It is a work of humanity. 

'• My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge ;" and can humanity 
have a greater triumph than to prevent destruction 1 Destruction is in 
all cases an affecting idea ; even when it is necessary, that necessity 
will always be lamented by the feeling mind ; but when what is good 
in itself, and might be useful to others, becomes its subject, how power- 
fully docs it affect our hearts and rouse our exertions ! 

Suppose a luxuriant harvest, shooting into perfection, waving in the 
wind, ripening in the sun, and flattering the fond hope of the husband- 
man by the fair promise of abundance. Should you see this hope 
blasted, and the whole produce of the fields destroyed by a universal 
blight, or an overwhelming tempest, you would weep over the desola- 
tion, and turn with horror from the scene. Suppose a community, 
cemented by friendship, inspired by patriotism, obedient to the laws, 
rising in opulence, in dignity, in character : again, suppose it divided 
by suspicion, irritated by parties, distracted by violence ; its cities de- 
populated, its fields drenched with the blood of their inhabitants, and 
anarchy and civil discord completing its destruction. Were you wit- 
nesses of this mournful tragedy ; were you spectators of these acts 
of violence, did you behold this " wide-spread ruin," what language 
could describe the agitation of your feelings 1 

But what are these, when compared to the destruction of man ? 
What can so affect our feelings, as the soul of man in ruins ? This 
fair temple of God, broken down by vice, and made the abode of every 
frightful monster and detestable abomination ! This efflux of the Di- 
vinity, sinking into depravity, wretchedness, and infamy, till it is swept 
by the besom of destruction, and driven by an avenging God into the 
pit of everlasting misery ! 

Instruction may prevent these evils ; it is the only means upon which 
we can depend with any confidence. Permit me then, brethren, to 
commend the children of the poor to your humanity. By the myste- 
rious dispensations of a Providence which determines the conditions of 
men, and deals out to them their respective portions of the possessions 
of the present life, they are born of parents who have not the means " 
of procuring them even a common education ; but they are cast upon 
your beneficence. You take them up. You will not suffer them to 
enter the world without knowledge to guide them through its difficul- 
ties, or principles to secure them against its temptations. Saved from 
the miseries which positive ignorance never fails to entail upon its 
wretched subjects, the benefit will be theirs, but the pleasure and re- 
ward of communicating it belong to you. Aided by your exertions, 


their minds will open to improvement, and to the reception of those 
principles which will tend to form their characters, and to regulate 
their lives. By being taught to read, they will have access to the 
Bible, the Gospel of their salvation. Its truths will enlighten, its pre- 
cepts will direct, and its promises will comfort them. They will learn 
to distinguish truth from error, and good from evil. They will feel the 
force of moral obligation, and perceive the excellencies of religion. 
You will show them the path of life. Humanity, canst thou feel a 
higher satisfaction ? Men and brethren, can you wish a more luxu- 
rious enjoyment? 

It is a work of patriotism. 

We love our country. It is endeared to us by considerations the 
most important. It is endeared to us by its government. Property is 
respected ; life is sacred ; liberty is secured. It is endeared to us 
by its privileges. " The Lord hath not dealt so with any nation." It 
is endeared to us by its religion. Its religion is Christian ; the reli- 
gion of the cross ; the religion of love and charity. It is endeared to 
us by the character of its inhabitants ; — mild, humane, friendly, and 
benevolent. Would to God we could also say, it is endeared to us by 
its morality! Here we must hesitate. "We are foolish people and 
unwise, and have ill requited the Lord our God." 

To what, then, ought patriotism to be directed ? It has secured our 
civil rights, it has organized our armies, it has rendered our navy in- 
vincible, it has extended our commerce, and enlarged our dominion; 
but there is yet one object to be accomplished ; without which well- 
appointed armies, an invincible navy, extended commerce, and enlarged 
dominion, will add little to our dignity, our happiness, or our real 
strength ; I mean the correction of our morals. Immorality and irre- 
ligion as certainly dry up the resources of a nation, and hasten its down- 
fall, as a worm at the root of the finest plant will cause it to fade, to 
wither, and to die. Wickedness arms God himself against us ; and if 
he speak " concerning a nation, to pluck up and to destroy," no coun- 
sels, however wise ; no plans, however judicious ; no exertions, how- 
ever vigorous, can avert the sentence. " Righteousness exalteth a 
nation," and every endeavour to promote it is patriotic. In this view, 
the preaching of the Gospel is patriotic ; the execution of the laws 
against vice and immorality is patriotic ; the support of Sunday schools 
is patriotic. From the latter, for reasons before assigned, much may 
be expected toward national reformation. Their good effects are al- 
ready obvious, and when they shall have become more general, these 
will be still more striking. Here, then, is a work worthy of your patri- 
otism. Hasten to counteract vice, by the inculcation of virtue ; to pre- 
vent the destructive effects of ignorance, by instruction ; to purify 
society, by purging the elementary parts of which it is to be composed, 
from corrupting principles and vicious propensities. These exertions, 
it is true, will not bring down upon you the smile of monarchs, because 
they will not notice them ; but they will insure the approbation of 
God. This work will not excite the plaudits of the populace, but the 
" blessings of them who were ready to perish" will come upon you. 
Your endeavours will not strike by their splendour, and raise hope by 
the boldness of enterprise, yet they will not be less effectual ; but, like 
the secret, silent influences of the spring, they will penetrate and 


vivify society : " it will bud and blossom, and fill the whole land with 

Finally. It is a work of virtue. 

I mean, of Christian virtue. The religion of Christ is a religion of 
love ; its law is the law of kindness, and its exercises the exercises 
of benevolence ; it shuns the parade of grandeur, and the circle of 
pleasure, and delights in the abodes of misery and the retreats of sor- 
row ; it withdraws the curtains of affliction, and whispers its consola- 
tions to the mind, and administers its reliefs to the wants of the dejected 
sufferer. Upon every institution which has for its objects the amelio- 
ration of the condition, and the increase of the civil and moral happi- 
ness, of man, it smiles approbation, and commands support. Sunday 
schools rise immediately out of its spirit, and adapt themselves to its 
design ; they do it honour. What proves that Christianity is of God 
more forcibly than that it is the express image of Him who is " abun- 
dant in goodness and truth ?" Does any other religion pretend to be 
of God ? " Show us the image and superscription." Such institutions, 
I say, honour and recommend Christianity, because they are its effects 
and distinguishing characteristics. Paganism could boast her solemn 
temples, her magnificent palaces, her splendid mausoleums, and her 
triumphal arches, but Christianity displays her alms houses, her hos- 
pitals, her asylums, her various charitable societies, and her Sunday 
schools. Paganism could glory in her heroes, her lawgivers, her phi- 
losophers, her orators, and her poets ; but Christianity exhibits a 
Founder who went about doing good, and disciples, in every age, who 
have devoted their time, their talents, their property, and their influ- 
ence, to instruct and bless mankind. My brethren, let us tread in their 
steps ; never may we profess Christ, and in works deny him ; but, by 
the lustre of our example, put to " silence the ignorance of foolish 
men." Let us honour our religion, and prove to all the world, that a 
Christian is a name which stands for every thing that is dignified and 

Sermon XI. — Religious Meditation. 

" Aud Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide," Genesis xxiv, 63. 

The character of Isaac is one of the most interesting in the Old 
Testament. He was a striking type of Christ, and an eminent example 
of piety. As the child of his parents' old age, his birth was preterna- 
tural, and so typical of the birth of Jesus, which was preternatural also. 
His being laid upon the wood by his father, to be offered as a sacrifice 
at the command of God, was a circumstance which not only proved the 
faith of the father, but the pious obedience of the son ; for Isaac was 
then in the vigour of youth, (at least, twenty-five years of age,) and 
able to have resisted his aged parent, had not he himself coincided in 
the act. Who can reflect upon the innocent youth, bearing the wood 
up the mountain for the supposed burnt offering, artlessly inquiring of 
Abraham, " Here is the wood ; but where is the lamb for a burnt offer- 


ing ?" and when informed that he himself was to be the victim, willingly- 
submitting to the determination of Heaven ; — -who, I say, can reflect 
on these things, without at the same time thinking on Him who carried 
his own cross ; and who, in the prospect of a death which he had not 
personally deserved, said, " Not my will, but thine be done V 

Isaac was not only a type of Christ, but also of the character and 
privileges of the Church of Christ. He alone was made the heir of his 
father's substance ; and the profane son of the bond woman was cast 
out. In like manner, none are the heirs of God but those who are of 
the true spiritual seed; none enjoy the privileges of the Church but 
those who are holy and harmless ; profane mockers and the workers 
of iniquity have no part in the kingdom of God and of Christ. 

Several other similar observations might be made ; but our business 
now is with the moral, and not with the typical, character of Isaac. 

The biography of the Scriptures is written in a style peculiar to 
itself. Here is no laboured description, no tedious narration ; all is 
free, artless, and simple. Yet the sacred writers, by a single stroke 
of the pen, give us a more correct view of the characters they describe 
than could possibly be conveyed by the labour of volumes ; and it fre- 
quently happens that a few words, comprehended in a single line, are 
the key by which we are let into the recesses of the human heart, and 
are admitted to contemplate, not only the bold outline, but those minute 
etchings and shades of character which are so highly interesting to the 
serious observer. 

In this light we may consider our text : " Isaac went out to meditate 
in the field at the eventide." Here, at one glance, we see that Isaac 
was a man of piety and reflection ; that he lived in habits of intimacy 
with his God ; and that, by the intercourse that he held with Heaven, 
he received those supplies of Divine aid by which he was enabled to 
subdue sin, and to do the will of Him that sent him into the world. In 
this delineation of the character of this holy patriarch, we have like- 
wise an example of the wisdom of occasional retirement from the 
world, for the purpose of religious meditation, — a practice which is 
absolutely necessary to the production and growth of piety, and conse- 
quently to the welfare and happiness of man. To illustrate its nature, 
and to enforce its observance, let us consider it in reference, 

I. To the greatness of its objects ; 

II. To its moral advantages. 

I. In the obscurity of heathenism there was little to invite medita- 
tion. The mind might wander in search of truth ; but it was only to 
return fatigued with exertion, perplexed with doubt, and involved in 
error. Were this the case with us, the subject of this discourse would 
be very uninteresting ; but, thanks be to God, the true light of revela- 
tion hath shined upon us ; and as the light of the sun discovers the 
objects of the natural world, so this manifests the hidden things of the 
spiritual. Doubt gives place to uncertainty, and conjecture to truth. 

But it is not only truth that is revealed to us, but important truth. — 
Not the verification of the idle dreams of the philosopher, the politician, 
or the moralist, but the establishment of the doctrines which determine 
the duties, elevate the hopes, and secure the interests, of man. To 
these meditation gives us access ; these it places before the eye, that 
it may impress them upon the heart. 


1. It unfolds the volume of nature. 

Nature seen by meditation, through the medium of revelation, assumes 
a new appearance. It is then no longer an effect without a known 
cause, nor a means without any visible tendency to an end ; but it is 
recognized as the work of an intelligent Being, displaying, upon a grand 
and extensive scale, his infinite wisdom and unbounded beneficence. 

In the creation of the world, two purposes appear to have been in 
the view of the almighty Creator. One of these was natural, to provide 
for the creatures which he designed to inhabit it. Hence, the earth, 
as the habitation of man, is furnished with every accommodation for his 
convenience and comfort. The other was a moral one : it was designed 
that man, marking the Divine wisdom and goodness in the constitution 
of the world, and the means by which the universal Parent supplies the 
wants of his dependent family, should yield to God his obedience, and 
" give him the glory due unto his name ;"' that such views should not 
only awaken his admiration, but his devotion ; not only excite his 
wonder, but his gratitude. This latter purpose can only be accom- 
plished by meditation. In that engagement, every object that he beholds 
leads him up to its almighty Creator, and declares his glory. The 
invisible things of God, even his eternal power and Godhead, are 
revealed to the pious meditant " by the things which do appear." He 
reflects upon himself, and in the constitution of his own frame sees the 
marks of the most exquisite skill, and of almighty power. He extends 
his thoughts to the earth which he inhabits, — its continents and oceans ; 
its varying climes and changing seasons ; its numerous productions, 
and its myriads of inhabitants ; the regularity of the laws by which it 
is governed ; and the harmony of every operation of that energy by 
which it is supported. In all these he discovers the works of the Lord, 
and the operation of his hands ; and cries, with him of old, who was 
engaged in the same employment, and inspired with the same sentiments, 
" Lord, how manifold are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made 
them all : the earth is full of thy riches ; so is the great and wide 
sea, wherein are things innumerable. These all wait upon thee, and 
thou givest them their meat in due season ; thou openest thine hand, 
and they are filled with good." Lifting up his eyes to the celestial 
expanse above him, the wonders which this interior part of the temple 
of the universe discloses confirm these sentiments, and enlarge these 
conceptions : " The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma- 
ment showeth his handy work. When I consider thy heavens, the 
work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained ; 
what is man, that thou art mindful of him ? and the son of man, that 
thou visitest him ?" 

Thus it is that meditation unfolds to us the volume of nature, and 
illuminates the characters in which the Divine glories are therein 
depicted. What is seen is also felt. Knowledge is enlarged, and 
devotion kindled. 

2. It discloses the principles and ends of the Divine government. 
Men of the world see the operations and feel the influences of this 

government ; but they see not its secret springs, neither are able to 
trace its consequences. Empires rise and fall ; wars and tumults 
shake the nations ; princes and honourable men take their stations, and, 
by counsel in the cabinet, or military prowess in the field, appear to 


"ride on the whirlwind and direct the storm." These are the only 
causes that the greatest part of men see ; and to these they wholly 
refer the good or the evil, the prosperity or the wretchedness, of the 
world. But he that lives in the practice of holy meditation enters into 
the counsels of Heaven, and, to a certain extent, is allowed to penetrate 
the motives of the almighty and universal Governor. " The secret of 
the Lord is with them that fear him." " Shall I hide from Abraham 
the thing that I do ?" Where others mark the operation of second 
causes only, he contemplates the universal influence of the first. — 
Where they see an agent only, he sees a principal. Where they are 
bewildered in darkness and uncertainty, he sees a regular and continued 
plan, which the Deity is carrying on and executing in every age ; and 
though he does not perceive the bearing and connection of every occur- 
rence, because of the limitedness of his powers, yet, from what he has 
discovered, he can entertain no doubt of the justice, wisdom, and good- 
ness of the Divine government. Clouds and darkness may be round 
about the Ruler of the universe in the administration of his dispensations ; 
but righteousness and judgment are the pillars which support his throne. 

When war afflicts the nations, he beholds not the wrath of man' alone, 
but " the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the 
earth." When peace spreads her gracious influence, and blesses a 
nation with prosperity, he looks beyond the wisdom of the wise, and 
the understanding of the prudent, to Him " who maketh wars to cease 
to the end of the earth, who breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in 
sunder." When men's hearts fail them for fear, and for looking for the 
things which are coming upon the earth, " his heart is fixed ;" for he 
trusts in the Lord. In his secret retirements he hears a voice, " Be 
still, and know that I am God ; I will be exalted in the earth." He 
bows to the injunction, and hides himself under the shadow of the 
Almighty. • 

Such are the opinions which habitual meditation will teach us 
respecting the administration of the affairs of the world ; nor will our 
views be less correct when we contemplate that particular government 
which God extends over individuals ; for he that governs the world 
collectively, governs every individual separately. To trace the opera- 
tions of the Divine wisdom and goodness in the events of our past lives, 
is one of the most pleasing exercises of religious meditation. Let the 
mercies bestowed upon careless men pass by them unimproved, and 
when past, be forgotten for ever ; let them be equally insensible to the 
chastisements of the Almighty, and, though they have been afflicted, 
give no glory to the God of heaven ; we, brethren, in retiring from the 
world, in recalling the events of life, shall behold, not only the gifts, 
but the Giver of them ; not the rod only, but Him who hath appointed 
it. We shall discover, that the end of every dispensation hath been 
our good ; that the Divine Being hath watched over us with the solici- 
tude of the tenderest parent, and, by a secret yet powerful energy, hath 
been restraining us from sin, moulding our hearts to virtue, and pre- 
venting our destruction. " Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes 
with man, to keep back his soul from the pit, that he may be enlighten- 
ed with the light of the living." 

3. It reveals the dispensations of grace. 

It is true that these are recorded in the New Testament, and that 


they are publicly taught ; but public records and public teaching can 
only be made effectual to our instruction by our own meditations. The 
former furnishes the matter, and the latter arranges, examines, and 

It is very probable that the subject of Isaac's meditation in the field, 
at eventide, might be the method of man's salvation, in that age partly 
revealed. Abraham, it is said, " saw the day of Christ afar off and 
was glad." Sacrifices of animals were then in use, and, by those, the 
vicarious sufferings of the Messiah were prefigured. But Isaac enjoyed 
additional means of information. As the exclusive heir of his father, 
it was from the appropriated line of his posterity that He was to spring 
in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed ; and the cir- 
cumstance of himself having been intentionally sacrificed, but delivered 
by the immediate interposition of God, was such a representation of the 
death and resurrection of his great Antitype as could not fail to make 
a very deep and lasting impression upon his mind. This was the 
favourite subject of meditation with all the Old Testament saints. " The 
Gospel was preached unto them as well as unto us ;" and though the 
medium was too dim for the object to be seen very distinctly through 
it, yet enough was discovered to engage the attention and to affect the 
heart. David was so interested in it that he says, " In thy law do I 
meditate day and night." Not in the moral law only, but in the Leviti- 
cal, that, by an attentive perusal of the shadow, his conception of the 
substance might become more correct and extensive. In the same way 
were the prophets affected. Thus the apostle : " Of which salvation 
the prophets have inquired diligently, who prophesied of the grace that 
should come unto you ; searching what, or what manner of time the 
Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified before- 
hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 

But that which is perfect is now come, and that which is in part is 
done away. The veil is removed, and " we all with open face behold, 
as in a glass, the glory of the Lord." What a subject for meditation ! 
" Which things the angels desire to look into." On the one hand, we 
shall discover man, corrupted by sin and laden with guilt, without 
strength and without hope : on the other, the striking character of God, 
inflexibly just, yet infinitely merciful ; — placable, though incensed ; 
reconcilable, though offended ; — possessing the right as well as the 
power of making us the awful monuments of his vengeance, by an utter 
and eternal destruction from his presence and glory ; yet arranging a 
plan for our redemption, and " devising means that his banished ones 
be not expelled from him." Mediating between these two parties, 
Jesus, the High Priest of our profession, is seen standing before the 
throne of God. It pleased the Father to bruise him and -put him to 
grief; and he, by the power of love unparalleled, love stronger than 
death, " became obedient to death, even the death of the cross." — 
Having purchased, by that meritorious act, the pardon and salvation of 
man, for the suffering of death he is crowned with glory, and elevated 
to the government of the universe, and the headship of the Church, 
that he may accomplish his designs of love, in bringing many sons to 
glory. From the heaven which he inhabits he hath sent us the news 
of salvation ; — a Gospel, the truth of which hath been attested by signs, 
and wonders, and many mighty works, and the blessings of which con 


tinue to be applied by the Holy Spirit ; — a Gospel, which, in a far 
higher sense than could be attached to the law, is " a lamp unto our 
feet, and a light unto our paths ;" instructing our minds, purifying our 
hearts, directing our lives, uniting us to God, and making us heirs of 
immortal life. 

Meditation is to all these truths, which shine around us in their 
meridian splendour, what the opened eye is to the light; it admits 
them into the understanding as objects of knowledge, and it applies 
them as the spring and the rule of practice. For neither the extent 
of them, as doctrines, can be seen, nor the advantages of them, as pro- 
mises, be enjoyed, until they become the subjects of serious reflection 
and habitual devotion. 

4. It draws aside the veil of mortality, and directs our view into a 
future and eternal state. 

In our commerce with the world, the things which are visible almost 
exclusively occupy our thoughts, awaken our desires, and excite our 
cares. But when we retire to meditate, nothing is more likely to strike 
us than the mortality of our present existence. Both from observation 
and experience, " the living know that they must die ;" yet where is the 
creature that clings not to life, that dreads not the extinction of exist- 
ence ? It is natural to man to wish for the continuance of being ; it is 
a principle which cannot be separated, from his nature. " If in this 
life only we had hope, we should be miserable ;" but life and immor- 
tality are enlightened by the Gospel. The resurrection of Jesus is the 
pledge of ours ; and his having entered into heaven as the Forerunner 
of his people, affords us an indefeasible right to an existence beyond 
the grave, glorious and eternal. To this world of felicity every good 
man, in his meditations, aspires. Wearied in life, he contemplates 
with rapture his approaching rest. Pressed with sorrow, and smarting 
under affliction, he finds a powerful relief in the prospect of a state of 
unmixed joy and unchangeable happiness. Without possessions in this 
world, or at least without any on which he does place his affections, he 
delights to review his title to those which are undefiled and fade not 
away. Groaning in a tabernacle, beneath a load of infirmity and im- 
perfection, he then rejoices in the reversion of " a house not made with 
hands," a state of perfection and love, a permanency of felicitous con- 
dition. And while hope sweetly expatiates in the fair prospect of so 
much good, faith gives a present subsistence to the things hoped for, a 
foretaste of the felicities, and an antepastal enjoyment of the blessings, 
of heav.en. 

But it cannot be denied, that futurity presents us with prospects 
gloomy, as these are bright ; dreadful, as these are glorious. The 
same Hand that has rent the veil which hid the holiest place from our 
view, has thrown open the iron doors of destruction, and discovered the 
pit of ruin, the miseries of the damned, the smoke of their torment 
ascending up for ever and ever. Yet, awful as this discovery is, it is 
of important consequence in the meditations of even a good man. Fear, 
as well as hope, is a powerful motive, and, in many cases, accomplishes 
that which hope cannot. The hearts of men are not, in this respect, 
" fashioned alike," consequently, cannot be equally acted upon by the 
same motive. While some will give way to the mild beams of mercy, 
others must be broken by terror ; and, in many, it is by the joint ope- 


ration of both, that the desired effect must be produced. Why the 
miseries as well as the felicities of futurity are revealed, is very ob- 
vious ; the one is to encourage piety, the other to deter from vice. — 
Such views will be produced in our minds by meditation ; let us, there- 
fore, be warned. While we contemplate the effect of sin, let us learn 
to avoid the cause. While we view the awful punishment of careless- 
ness and sloth, let us " watch and pray always, that we may be ac- 
counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and 
to stand before the Son of man." 

Under this head of the discourse we shall advance no more, only 
observe, that the topics introduced are very general, and will, upon due 
consideration of them in retirement, branch out into so great a number 
and variety, that we shall never want for something new to invite our 
thoughts, and fix our attention. From this inexhaustible mine of reli- 
gious truth, a treasure may always be procured to repay our labour and 
to enrich our souls. Proceed we then to consider meditation, 

II. In reference to its moral advantages. 

1. By meditation we shall acquire a competent knowledge of our 
own hearts. 

Nothing can be more evident than that most men press through life 
without knowing themselves. Vice makes a rapid progress in their 
hearts, but that progress is not marked. The seeds of evil are suffered 
to grow and to overspread the mind ; while they remain ignorant of 
the extent of their produce. Nor can it be otherwise, while all their 
time and their thoughts are occupied by considerations foreign both to 
religion and morality. The heart of man is deceitful above all things ; 
and to pursue vice through all its folds and labyrinths will call for 
attentive observation and serious study. But study supposes retire- 
ment ; and study in retirement is what we mean by meditation. It is 
then that we can leisurely and seriously pursue our conduct to its 
principles, and our actions to their motives ; that we can trace the 
tenor of our thoughts and wishes, and determine how far they run in 
the line of duty, and where they break off from it. As meditation 
brings before us the great objects of religion, the very act itself will 
try the temper of our minds. We shall then be able to determine to 
what extent religious objects engage our hearts, and how far our aver- 
sion to them proves the carnality of our minds by the enmity or indif- 
ference, that we feel to them ; whether the relish of our souls be formed 
to things Divine and heavenly, or our affections be carried away to 
those of the world. In a word, as it is by the rules of God's word 
alone that we can truly estimate our characters, so to prove ourselves 
by it will be one principal part of our business in retirement. By this 
we shall not only discover our natural depravity and weakness, but be 
able to determine the degree of our Christian attainments, to prevent 
self deception, to gather suitable matter for our prayers, to encourage 
what is good, and to amend what is evil. 

Such are the important discoveries which meditation makes in the 
human heart. To neglect it, is to neglect the means of obtaining that 
great branch of knowledge, the knowledge of ourselves, — the first at- 
tainment of religion, and the foundation on which the whole superstruc- 
ture is raised. 


2. It will enable us to form a just estimate of the world. 

It is an axiom which we ought never to forget, that things are to be 
valued and pursued according to their real worth and importance. But 
we find that too many of our fellow creatures, neglecting this rule, 
devote that attention and ardour to trifles which ought to have been 
reserved for things of the most valuable consideration. " The children 
of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light." 
Such inconsistencies we are not guilty of in the affairs of life, nor should 
we be in those of religion, if we had all duly apprehended the value 
of the " things which are seen, which are temporal, and the things 
which are not seen, which are eternal." But how shall we judge of 
the world 1 As we would judge of a large painting. Not when we 
are so close to it that the eye can take in but a part ; but at a convenient 
distance, where the different attitudes, relations, and expressions of the 
figures and objects may be most strikingly discovered. In retirement 
we place ourselves at this convenient distance from the world, and 
through " the loop-holes of retreat, may see the stir of the great Babel 
and not feel the crowd." Should we estimate the world in the ardour 
of pursuit, the excess of enjoyment, or the chagrin of disappointment, 
our estimate would be false. But if we would calculate accurately, we 
must go, with -Isaac, into the field at even-tide, when the heat of the 
day has subsided, and the bustle of exercise is past. Then the mind, 
tranquil as even-tide itself, its passions hushed to silence, cool and 
collected, will see clearly and reason justly. Then the world, stripped 
of the embellishments with which our hopes and wishes had decorated 
it, will be seen as it is in itself; and, when thus seen, must sink in our 
estimation to its proper level. We shall conclude that, though it is 
worthy of our hands, it is not deserving of our hearts ; that, notwith- 
standing we may lawfully avail ourselves of its advantages, it must not 
fetter our minds ; that while it calls for a certain portion of care and 
exertion, these must be consistent with the principles and exercises of 
religion ; that all worldly joy and sorrow must be moderate, because 
its good is fleeting, and its evils transitory ; and that the best and most 
vigorous exercises of our powers must be reserved for those spiritual 
objects which are stable in their natures, and eternal in their duration. 

3. Meditation promotes holiness. 

As the architect, before he can erect an extensive edifice, must, in 
private, first prepare his plan ; and as the philosopher, before he can 
enlighten the world with his discoveries by study, must first digest and 
arrange his system ; so, before we can come forth into life as patterns 
of holiness, and skilful champions of the truth, we must, by meditation, 
have imbibed the principles of religion, and submitted our hearts to its 
influence. Retirement and reflection are constantly avoided by the 
vicious ; for they are so opposite to every thing that is evil, and so 
friendly to the promotion of goodness, that none but those who sincerely 
desire to live to the glory of God will habitually retire to meditate. It 
is a practice that will produce repentance, by setting " our sins before 
us, our secret sins in the light of our countenance." It will humble 
the mind, and destroy its love to sin. It will produce fear and love 
toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It places the soul 
under the influences of the Divine Spirit, who transforms and renews 
it in the image of Christ, by " purging away the leaven of wickedness," 


and implanting therein all the principles and graces of the Christian 
character. Thus changed, we shall come from retirement, as Moses 
from the mount, shining with the lustre of spiritual " glory and beauty." 
Our loins will then be girt with truth, and our " feet shod with the pre- 
paration of the Gospel of peace." Armed at all points, we shall be 
able to withstand the attacks of our enemies, and the seductive influ- 
ence of the world ; and, in reality, as well as profession, shall be blame- 
less and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a 
crooked and perverse generation. 

But that we have attended to this duty will not be sufficient. Would 
we " grow in grace," we must persevere in doing it. We ought 
regularly to come from the secret exercises of meditation into the 
world ; and we ought to go from the world into retirement, there to 
wipe off any stain we may have contracted, to repair the breaches that 
temptation may have made in our souls, and, by prayer and faith, to 
obtain grace to enable us henceforward to escape the corruptions of 
the world, and the solicitations of sin. 

4. Meditation leads to a union with God. 

" I will dwell in them, and walk in them. I and my Father will 
come in to him and abide with him." But when are these words 
verified ? Particularly in the hour of religious retirement. It is true, 
that a good man lives under a constant sense of the Divine presence ; 
yet worldly engagements, however moderate, in some degree divert the 
mind, and prevent that fulness of communication which these promises 
lead us to expect. In the world there is the " earthquake, the whirl- 
wind, and the storm ; but God is not there." He reveals himself to 
his people by " a still small voice ;" a voice which meditation opens 
our ears to receive and our hearts to feel. Then he makes that heart 
his throne, which is prepared by suitable sentiments to receive him ; 
it is then that he gloriously descends into the soul, which is elevated 
by devotion to meet him. His light and love are shed abroad in the 
heart, its darkness scattered, its sorrows chased away, and a Divine 
quickening influence animates and directs every power. How 
pleasingly awful are the secret retirements of. the pious! "Surely," 
says Jacob, " God is in this place ; how awful is the place !" David 
calls it, " abiding under the shadow of his wings." It is the cleft of 
the rock in which God placed Moses when he made all his goodness 
pass before him. It is the mount of transfiguration, where the disciples, 
beholding the glory of their Master, cry out, " It is good for us to be 

Would you then, my brethren, enjoy that highest privilege of human 
beings, — to walk and talk with God as a man with his friend, nay, to 
be "joined to the Lord, and become one spirit with him," — retire, with 
Isaac, to meditate ; keep your appointments with God sacred : he will 
not fail to meet you. " Behold, I stand at the door and knock : if any 
man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will 
sup with him, and he with me." 

Finally. Meditation prepares us for heaven. 

To prove this, nothing more is requisite than to review what has 
already been advanced. We have seen that meditation is the means 
of obtaining knowledge ; that it weans our hearts from the world, and 
places the affections on things above ; that it produces repentance and 


holiness ; that it is the spring of an ardent and elevated devotion ; and, 
by strengthening and purifying the mind, enables us to do those things 
which are pleasing in the sight of God, and to " lay up a good founda- 
tion against the time to come." Those that live in the habit of an 
exercise so morally productive as this, must be rapidly preparing for 
the kingdom of glory : they perform those conditions on which the 
promise of it is suspended ; they grow familiar with those objects 
which will be the foremost to engage the mind in a state of future 
felicity ; and they are forming their characters to the model of those who 
are already placed in the possession of it. How long the stay of such 
in the present world will be protracted, we must leave to God ; but the 
time will occur when " the Master shall come and call for them." — 
Happy is that servant, who, when his Lord cometh, shall be found so 
doing : to him it shall be said, " Well done, good and faithful servant ; 
enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 

Such are the important advantages which will arise from occasional 
retirement from the world to meditate ; a duty, to the neglect of which 
we may fairly attribute the depravity of the wicked, and the ignorance 
and instability of many professors of religion, and to the performance 
of which we scarce need any other motives than the practice of the 
best and wisest of men, and its evident connection with the perfection 
of religion in our hearts. We may all live in the practice of it ; for, 
however urgent the calls of business and other engagements of life, if 
we regularly distribute and carefully redeem our time, we shall not 
want opportunity. Leisure we all have ; and good sense alone will 
tell us, that it is better to employ it in this manner, than in dancing 
the giddy circle of pleasure, or in the yawnings of sloth. Brethren, 
time is short, but it is infinitely valuable. Our moments leave us in 
a succession awfully rapid. As they pass, let us stamp them with 
our virtues, that, at last, the retrospect of life may be pleasing, and the 
prospect of eternity glorious. 

Sermon XII. — St. PauVs Confidence in the Gospel. 

" For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ : for it is the power of God 
unto salvation to every one that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith : as it i» 
written, The just shall live by faith," Romans i, 16, 17. 

This epistle was written from Corinth, one of the most remarkable 
seenes of St. Paul's ministerial success ; but which could not satisfy 
that sanctified and noble ambition which was always urging him on to 
new labours and more extended triumphs. He had heard of the 
flourishing state of Christianity at Rome ; and although that work had 
been effected by other instruments, yet he rejoiced in this new and 
illustrious proof of the efficacy of the Gospel in the seat of empire, — ■ 
in that grand temple and fountain of superstition, where pomp and 
power lent their patronage to the errors which deluded, and the vices 
which corrupted almost the whole world of civilized men. He was 


too deeply interested in the honour of his Master, and in the salvation 
of the souls purchased by his blood, to admit the base feeling of envy 
toward those on whom God had conferred the fame of raising up a 
Church in the celebrated metropolis of the world ; he cherishes the 
work in his sympathies, as though he himself had been its author, and 
calls God to witness, that without ceasing he made mention of the 
believers there in his prayers ; verse 9. After, however, he had 
longed to see them, he had made request that he might have a prospe- 
rous journey to them, by the will of God. But he had been hindered 
by that very will of God in subjection to which he had made the 
request. The apostles were not in their own hands ; and that peculiar 
leading of the Spirit, under which they were, appears to have been 
vouchsafed often by sudden and unlooked-for impulses, changing their 
plans, and countervailing their most deliberate purposes. This is one 
of the proofs that they were under that inspiration which they pro- 
fessed. A real fanatic turns those impressions which he fancies to 
be from God into the service of his own will and inclinations. Among 
the apostles, both these Avere overruled : and, as the true servants of 
Jesus Christ, they learned to live not to themselves but to him, and to 
acknowledge that, in a work which respected the deep and compre- 
hensive designs of God's mercy to .ne world, not even spiritual and 
experienced men were, of themselves, competent judges either of time 
or place. St. Paul was permitted vO visit Rome, but at a future time ; 
his journey was not to be that prosperous journey which he requested, 
but a journey of toils, and periL, and suffering ; he was to enter Rome 
as an ambassador, but as " an ambassador in bonds," — a prisoner, and 
not free. So differently, often in the mode, does God bring about 
those purposes and plans of ours which he is pleased to accomplish ! 
The reason why St. Paul so earnestly wished to visit the Roman 
Church was, that he might impart unto them " some spiritual gift," 
make them sharers of that more perfect knowledge of evangelical truth 
with which he had been endued, impress upon them all those motives 
to fidelity and constancy which his example, his zeal, and " the wisdom 
given to him," could supply, and, by his preaching to the pagan part 
of the population, might have fruit among them also, as among other 
Gentiles. Directed, however, by the Holy Spirit into other and distant 
fields of labour, he endeavours to impart this " spiritual gift" to them 
through this important epistle ; a writing equally adapted to the 
instruction and edification of both Jews and Gentiles, of which the 
Roman Church was composed ; and of standing, unaltered value and 
efficacy to all classes of men to this day. It is, indeed, the grand 
light of the Church on the all-concerning subjects of our justification 
before God, the privileges secured to us by faith in Christ, and practical 
holiness in its various branches. Happy is he who reads, understands, 
and applies it ; to him shall that " spiritual gift" spoken of by St. Paul 
be imparted ; and he shall be " established." 

Our text expresses St. Paul's readiness to " preach the Gospel at 
Rome also," as he had done in so many other distinguished cities of 
the ancient world ; a readiness which sprang from his entire confidence 
in the truth, the excellency, and the power of the Divine system which 
he was charged to teach. The grounds of his confidence we propose 
briefly to exhibit ; and we shall find them laid partly in the points 


stated in the text, and partly suggested in preceding verses of this 
introductory portion of the epistle. 

I. The first consideration from which this confidence must have 
arisen, was the certainty of his own call from heaven to be a teacher 
of that religion which he had once persecuted. 

You know his own statement of the case, as twice given, when put 
iipon his defence for preaching that Jesus was the Christ ; and the 
effect so corresponds with the cause to which he attributed it, that it is 
impossible you should discover for it any other rational solution. There 
were no predilections in his mind in favour of the new religion ; his 
feelings, his passions, his judgment, were all opposed to it. A proud 
Pharisaic formalist has always been found farthest from the kingdom 
of God. His resistance to Christianity was not merely passive ; his 
alarms for what he then believed to be the truth were excited by the 
spread of this new heresy, and the ardour of his feelings rose even to 
persecuting fury ; " he breathed out threatenings and slaughter" against 
the saints, and had looked on with savage joy while the first martyr 
was stoned into the glories of a kingdom which he had then no eye 
of faith to discern. To relax the bigotry, to quench the fury, to turn 
the tide of such a mind, and that suddenly, some great power must be 
supposed ; and a power which, to his conviction, must have been 
decidedly supernatural, since it bound him to sacrifice fame, wealth, 
and friends, and to embrace reproach, poverty, and suffering, and so 
" separated him unto the Gospel of God," verse 1 , as to demand an entire 
renunciation of the world. The only assignable cause is the true one ; 
the vision of Christ vouchsafed to him on the way to Damascus, — that 
vision which first humbled and then exalted ; which prostrated him at 
the foot of Him who had power to avenge upon him all the wrongs 
done to Christ through his people ; but which closed by sending him 
as a witness and apostle " to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, and to 
turn them from darkness to light." That hour of terror and of joy 
could not be forgotten : Moses might as soon have doubted of his com- 
mission, received amidst the thunders of Sinai, as St. Paul of his, 
confirmed at once by the external miracle, and the no less a miracle 
within, — the sudden change of his whole heart from unbelief to faith, 
and from enmity to love. Satisfied, therefore, of his heavenly apostle- 
ship, he was ashamed of his commission no where, not even at, Rome ; 
and his very confidence, which could only be the result of his own 
laith, gives also confidence to ours. His conversion is one of those 
signal miracles by which our religion has been for ever ratified. 

II. The confidence professed in the text was supported also by his 
thorough conviction of the Divinity of the Author of the Gospel of which 
he was thus made a minister. In his view, the doctrine which he was 
" separated" to teach was " the Gospel of God," not only as to the Fa- 
ther from whom the grace came as its fountain, but as to his Son Jesus 
Christ by whom it was administered, and who had committed it to him. 
" He was made of the seed of David," according " to the flesh ;" and 
so bore in his human nature and descent that proof of Messiahship 
which accorded with the prophecies ; but he was also " declared to be 
the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the 
resurrection from the dead." 

Thus does the apostle proclaim his faith in Him whom in his fol- 


lowers he once so virulently persecuted as an impostor. He not only 
proclaims him to be Messiah in the sense of the degenerate Jews of 
that day, who, departing from the faith of their ancestors and their 
Scriptures, expected no greater than a human Messiah. He was that 
human Messiah " according to the flesh ;" but " according to the Spirit 
of holiness," his higher and Divine nature, that which was opposed to 
what he was " according to the flesh," he was the Son of God, that 
glorious hypostasis in the Godhead, who was " of the Father" by an 
eternal filiation, and thus was at once second in order, and equal in 
majesty and perfection ; a Being capable at once of being sent to re- 
deem the world, and of infinite resources to accomplish the stupendous 
work. Such a Messiah was promised in the writings of the holy pro- 
phets ; and Jesus had been declared to be this Messiah by his resur- 
rection from the dead, which authenticated all the claims he had ever 
made on earth. 

The Gospel, then, according to the apostle, had an author in the 
fullest sense of the word Divine : this was the ground of the apostle's 
confidence in it. He could not hesitate to put it into comparison with 
any religious system which imperial Rome, the pupil of Greece, could 
exhibit as its competitor. It had its philosophic schools, each boast- 
ing of its founder and master ; it had its popular mythology, reaching 
into the obscurities of antiquity ; but there, was nothing which bore 
upon it the impress of God, nothing which had that authority upon 
which human hope could rest. The mythology was ever acknowledged 
to be ridiculous and corrupting imposture, by every sober and rational 
man ; and the philosophy had no basis but the opinions of men, contra- 
dicting themselves and each other. Triumphantly as he had led on 
the march of Christianity in other parts of the Gentile world, he could 
not be ashamed of it at Rome, — encircled not by the changeful, flitting 
meteors of human science, often falsely so called, but with the efful- 
gence of celestial truth ; towering above all in the majesty of her Di- 
vine Founder ; accredited by the seals of prophecy and miracles ; breath- 
ing peace in her promises, and commanding awe by the sanctions of 
an unveiled eternity. He knew that it was from its author, God, and 
that God its author was always with it. This was the ground of his 
confidence ; and it is the sure ground of ours. 

" Christ is God !" What a glory is thus given to his Gospel ! There 
are who reject this grand, this fundamental truth, in opposition to those 
very Scriptures which they profess to receive ; but how different is 
their Gospel from ours ! Their Christ is man ; ours, God made man. 
The affection of their Christ is the benevolence of a creature ; of ours, 
the love of God, to be measured only by the stoop of his condescension 
from heaven to earth ; from the heights of glory to the depths of agony ; 
from the adorations of angels to the scoffs of mortals. Their teacher, 
though inspired, is but a human prophet: "God, who in time past 
spake to our fathers by the prophets," thus marking an inferior dispen- 
sation, " hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son." The death 
of Christ to them is the testimony of a martyr ; to us, the seal of an 
everlasting covenant of grace by sacrifice. His resurrection is to them 
a proclamation chiefly of his innocence : to us he rises as the Resur- 
rection and the Life, quickening himself, and showing that he has 
power to " quicken whomsoever he will." To them his ascension is 


nothing ; it terminates in himself : to us he ascends as the High 
Priest, to open the holy places to us by the sprinkling of his blood, to 
give access to the mercy seat in heaven, ever to live to make inter- 
cession for us, to bring many sons to glory ; to take " the key of shades 
and of death," to open so that none can shut, to shut so that none can 
open. To them Christ is gone, and they are left orphans : to us he is 
ever present ; for " where two or three meet in my name, I am in the 
midst of them ;" and, " Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end 
of the world." Of such a Gospel, issuing from, and glorified and ener- 
gized by, his Divinity, we are not, and never shall be, ashamed. 

III. The confidence of the apostle would naturally be confirmed by 
the effects already produced by Christianity in Rome, of which he 
makes mention in the preceding verses with grateful joy : " I thank my 
God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of 
throughout the whole world." 

That which he had seen in other places, resulting from the publica- 
tion of the Gospel, he had heard of at Rome ; all the Christians who 
had visited the metropolis from every other Church had returned to 
bear witness to the grace of God as manifested in that city ; and thus, 
throughout the whole empire, so extensive as to be sometimes denomi- 
nated " the world," their " faith" had been spoken of with admiration. 
Here was another reason for the apostle's glorying in the religion of 
which he was made a minister ; and it was one on which he might 
meet, without shrinking, all the subtleties of sophists, as well as the 
shafts of satire, and the frowns of authority. 

Religion itself is a practical thing ; and its actual effects, when re- 
ceived, are its true test. He was not going to Rome to propose it to 
the acceptance of the inhabitants for the first time. By whomsoever 
first introduced, it had been for some years working its own mighty 
moral changes ; and had raised up a Church there, whose faith, in 
those primitive times, had obtained no approving celebrity, if it had 
not saved its professors from sin ; if it had not been " faith working by 
love," — the very reverse of the faith of that Church fallen, and equally 
spoken of and felt throughout the world as faith working by " hatred, 
malice, and all uncharitableness." He could therefore refer to the 
effects produced as forcibly as to the argument in favour of the Gospel ; 
and had not only to exhibit the theory, but its triumphs of salvation, and 
its fruits of holiness. 

And here the Christian preacher, or the private Christian, may stand 
upon the highest ground, an,d say, after the lapse of centuries, " I am 
not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ." True, we know that supersti- 
tion, and error, and persecution, and bad morals, the effects of corrup- 
tions of the Gospel, have been charged upon Christianity itself ; which 
is like charging the blights, and other injuries done to the harvest by 
the clouds and damps and storms of a turbid atmosphere, to the sun, 
which, though hidden, shines unclouded in the pure heaven of a higher 
region. True, the enemies of the Gospel once loved to contrast the 
virtues of pagan with the vices of Christian nations ; but the better 
knowledge of the heathen world which has been of late years acquired, 
has disappointed the malignant argument, and proved that Christianity, 
m its worst forms, is superior, in moral influence, to the best systems 
pf heathen wisdom, or heathen superstition. When, however, we 

Vol. I. 12 


speak of Christianity, we do not speak of that which has so profanely- 
usurped that venerable name. What have we to do with the idolatries of 
the Roman, or the superstition of the Greek, Church. Our Bible spurns 
them ; and, as the proof of this, they have spurned the Bible, as well 
knowing that its testimony must be silenced before they could pass oft" 
their cheats and impostun-s upon the world, under the sanction of the 
Divine system of religion which it contains. Of the gospel of anti- 
christ we might be ashamed ; not of the Gospel of Christ himself, the 
Son of the living God. No ; wherever that has come, whether it has 
broken partially through the gloom of darkened Christendom upon par- 
ticular nations, or been as the first dawn of morning light rising upon 
the long night of pagan countries, the effect, has been the same : from 
the soil sterile as to good, and fertile only in weeds and poisons, have 
sprung up " the fruits of righteousness ;" and "the faith" of British and 
American Christians, nay, of converted negroes, Hottentots, Indians, 
and the inhabitants of the distant islands of the Pacific Ocean, has been 
" spoken of throughout the world," with feelings as grateful and tri- 
umphant as those which in the first ages were excited and inspired by 
the pure and fruitful faith of the Church of Rome in its virgin purity. 
Yes, when we contemplate on so large a scale, and through a portion 
of time so vast, its beneficent operations on the bodies and the souls 
of men, their civil, social, and religious state, upon the intellect and 
upon the passions, upon the conditions of this life, and the hopes of 
another ; when we think of the manliness it has given to intellect, the 
power it has infused into conscience, the settledness to religious 
opinions on all fundamental points of doctrine, the happy families it 
has created, the moral progress into which it has impelled the most 
degraded nations, the noble examples of wisdom, purity, and heroic 
suffering it has set up, the mercy it has shed through society, and the 
" number which no man can number" with which it has colonized the 
regions of immortality themselves, we may each respond to the apos- 
tle, and say, " I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ." 

IV. A fourth ground of his confidence is expressly stated in the text. 
" For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ; 
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." 

Here the apostle brings the efficiency of the Gospel down to indi- 
vidual experience. It is not upon communities and nations only that 
it operates beneficially, but upon " every one that believeth ;" and that, 
not only " to the Jew," to whom it was first, in all places, proposed, 
" but also to the Greek ;" the external circumstances of man neither 
cutting them off from salvation, nor obstructing the efficacy of this 
grand saving institution. 

When the apostle lays it down as the ground of his glorying in the 
Gospel, that it is the power of God unto salvation, he, silently contrasts 
it with every other religion known or received among men, and tri- 
umphs over them. This is power, they are weakness and insufficiency ; 
this saves, they leave man in sin and danger still. Under all the forms 
of paganism, under all the systems of heathen philosophy, the world 
became still more corrupt ; nor did their most devoted disciples exhibit 
any proofs of being saved. Salvation was what man needed, hut which 
they all failed to bestow ; those who mqst carefully followed their re- 
gimen or applied their medicines, grew but worse under the treatment, 


and were themselves therefore the proofs, that every process of moral 
healing known in the world was utterly powerless. But this, says the 
apostle, has " power ;" it has Divine power ; it is " the power of God 
unto salvation." 

Nor ought the grandeur of this thought to escape us. The power of 
God was familiar to man. In the order, and in the disorders of nature, 
its steadfast laws, and its conflicting elements, it was alike manifested ; 
in the punishment of sin, in the acts of daily providence, in the rolling 
changes and whirl of empires. Here, however, the power of God haa 
a new manifestation : it is power engaged only in works of mercy, — • 
mercy to the souls of men ; the power of God embodied in Christianity 
to save and to bless. Behold, then, the power of God as it connects 
itself with the Gospel, and works out its gracious effect by it, as its 

In the Gospel, the power of God is employed to illuminate ; it is 
light shining in darkness, and carrying with it its own demonstration, 
so clear, so bright, so piercing, that all who attend to its doctrine at all 
have a secret, unconquerable conviction that it is from God ; and it 
thus creates a standard of judgment and a conscience, from which men, 
even with all their efforts, can scarcely ever free themselves. 

In the Gospel the power of God is employed to quicken. Man, dead 
by nature, now lives. His awakened fears, his restless desires after 
God, his impatience to be free from sin, his sighs who never sighed 
for sin, his tears who never wept for sin, his voice of pleading prayer, 
— for, " behold, he prayeth," — all prove that a strange change has 
passed upon him ; he awakes, he lives, at the voice of that word which, 
from its efficacy, proves itself to be the voice of God. 

In the Gospel the power of God is employed to comfort. It does 
this by the conveyance upon our believing of a powerful and unequivocal 
testimony of the Spirit of God to our spirits, that we are now the re- 
conciled,, accepted children of God ; that " Christ loved me" as an 
individual, and " gave himself for me ;" that I have received " the adop- 
tion of a son," and, if a child, am therefore " an heir of God, and a 
joint heir with Christ." This is " the strong consolation" enjoyed by 
" the heirs of promise" spoken of by St. Paul in his Epistle to the 
Hebrews ; and it is that which, wherever the Holy Spirit abides as the 
Comforter, neither the sorrows of life, nor the pains of death, can over- 
come and destroy. 

In the Gospel the power of God is employed to regenerate. " Created 
anew unto good works, that ye might walk in them." " Such were 
some of you," appeals St. Paul to the personal experience of the Corin- 
thians ; " but ye are washed ; but ye are sanctified." 

In the Gospel the power of God is employed to sustain. The pas- 
sive power thus given to man, the power to suffer, is as illustrious as 
any other of its displays in the heart and experience of man. And 
here I refer not to the power to suffer reproach, to be martyred for 
truth, and not accept deliverance on terms which would dishonour 
Christ and defile the conscience. I know it may be said, that philo- 
sophy may defy scorn ; but even here, I ask, Will philosophy teach 
me to love the scorner ? — That natural heroism may submit with dignity 
to unjust death ; but will it excite me to pray for the murderer ? It is, 
however, to ordinary instances that we refer ; ordinary as to frequencv 


extraordinary indeed as to character ; — to the thousands of silent suf- 
ferers now in pain, poverty, and oppression, who, strengthened by this 
mighty power, are meekly dumb under the hand of God, heavy as it 
may press upon them ; they are " silent, for it is the Lord's doing." 

In the Gospel the power of God is glorifying. It shall raise the 
body from the humbling ruins of its mortality, to the glory of a death- 
less life ; and it has already placed disembodied spirits of saints 
" whom no man can number," in the beatifying vision of God. It is 
thus " the power of God unto the" eternal " salvation of every one that 

V. The last ground on which the confidence of the apostle, as to 
the Gospel, rested, is not the least : " For therein is the righteousness 
of God revealed from faith to faith." 

This is indeed the reason why the Gospel is the power of God unto 
salvation : it is so because it contains a revelation of the terms on 
which God forgives sins, or justifies men by pardon who are actually 
guilty. Or, if this clause be considered as exegetical of the former, 
then we are to understand by it, that the Gospel is a Divine institution, 
by which men are saved through the forgiveness of their sins by faith 
in an atonement which demonstrates the righteousness of God in this 
very exercise of mercy. 

This is indeed the grand and peculiar glory of the Gospel. The 
immutable principle of the Divine government is righteousness : " A 
sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." From this 
principle he never does, and never can depart. To grant mercy to the 
guilty is a perfectly voluntary act ; and he has shown that it is so by 
passing by the fallen angels, and leaving them unredeemed, while he 
regarded the low estate of man. A righteous government is the result 
of moral necessity : God may be merciful ; but he must be just. 

The only way in which he could, therefore, be at once just and 
merciful, it is obvious, must be by the provision of an adequate atone- 
ment for sin, so that all the ends of a righteous government, the cha- 
racter of which is to uphold authority by the punishment of all offences, 
might be answered. For this reason no other system could be saving: 
none of them had the true atonement ; and it was this which so exalted 
Christianity above them all, however venerable for antiquity, or com- 
mended by authority, as to make it the just subject of the apostle's 
glorying. What had they to offer as a propitiation for sin ? They had 
" the blood of bulls and of goats," like the Jews ; but among heathens 
they were neither true atonements, nor the types of the true atonement. 
They neither possessed efficacy in themselves, nor directed to that 
beyond themselves which did possess efficacy ; and this first requisite 
being wanting, all that was added of pomp and splendour to their reli- 
gion could not supply the want, and only served to exaggerate and 
amplify what was of no value. It could not reconcile man to God ; 
and all this therefore was empty and delusive ceremony. In none of 
its parts could it plead Divine appointment ; and, as to the whole array 
of its temples, sacrifices, festivals, sacerdotal orders and processions, 
it was doubtless said by Him who has the right to appoint his own 
propitiation and his own worship, " Who hath required this at your 
hands ?" 

But of the doctrine of which St. Paul was the teacher, he affirms, 


" Therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith :" 
that is, it reveals a righteous method by which sin is forgiven by God, 
through faith in the authorized and accepted sacrifice offered by his 
Son ; and it reveals this to the faith of men, in order that they may 
believe and live ; " as it is written, The just shall live by faith :" so 
that the Old Testament bears witness to the New on this all-important 
doctrine. Thus it is that the Gospel throws open the gates of salva- 
tion to the guilty, and at once secures, by its Divine atonement for sin, 
the honours of the Divine government ; and, by its conditions of re- 
pentance and faith, themselves performed in the strength of a Divine 
influence, places its salvation within the reach of the most helpless and 
the most unworthy. 

Such were the reasons which banished all shame from the breast of 
the apostle, and made him ready to declare this heavenly doctrine at 
Rome also with all " boldness and confidence." 

Brethren, this same Gospel demands from us the most devout ac- 

Preachers, animated with the same spirit as St. Paul, have in all 
succeeding ages been raised up to publish the truth among pagans, or 
to reassert its ancient doctrines in the fallen and corrupt Church. In 
that pure form in which alone it is " the power of God unto salvation," 
in which it reveals " a righteousness of faith to faith," it has reached 
us, and is now ever before us in the written word, the living ministry, 
and in the examples of its saving efficacy. How ought this mercy, 
which crowns every other, and without which every other were in vain 
showered upon us, to excite our gratitude ! " Thanks be to God for 
his unspeakable gift !" Guilty and unworthy as we are, we know what 
we must do to be saved ; the true sacrifice for sin is exhibited to our 
faith ; great and precious promises meet that variety of want which 
arises out of the state of our minds, the changes of a vain and suffering 
life, and our relations to eternity. All that the word religion, under- 
stood in the highest and most important sense, implies, is here, stamped 
and authenticated by the seals of God. All that can exalt the intellect 
as truth, all that guides the heart and life as law, all that cheers the 
conscience as grace, are here exhibited. A system of influence and 
motive, which fosters benevolence and enjoins sanctity, is in operation, 
rendered effectual to all that believe by " the power of God." What 
prospects are thus opened to ourselves, to our families, to our country, 
and, if we are faithful to our vocation, to the whole world. The prin- 
ciple and the power of all moral order and happiness is vouchsafed to 
us ; that which renews individual man after the image of God ; that 
which creates peaceful and hallowed families ; and that which, struck 
into the chaos of the world's confusion and disorder, will go on to con- 
trol, arrange, and subdue all things to its own laws of truth, righteous- 
ness, and peace. For such a gift of God to the world, the whole world 
ought to bring its offering of universal praise 

" From every land, by every tongue." 

2. The Gospel claims from us an unshrinking avowal. 

" I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ," says the apostle ; and 
he was ready to assert its Divine and pre-eminent claims in every 
place. Such ought to be the spirit with which we are influenced , 


modest and humble, as becomes the disciples of truth ; but decided 
and unyielding. Are we taunted by the world for our love of this 
Divine system and our daily study of it ? Let us answer, " It is the 
power of God unto salvation ;" and what is there on earth which ought 
so deeply to interest me and all to whom it is published ? Is the doc- 
trine of faith in the atonement, as the only condition of salvation, the 
subject of aspersion and contempt by proud and unhumbled men ? The 
reply is at hand. The Gospel is the " power of God unto salvation," 
only " to every one that believeth ;" and " the righteousness of faith is 
revealed only to faith ;" the faith of him who, awakened to his danger, 
and cut off from every other hope, trusts in this alone, and accepts sal- 
vation as God has appointed to administer it. 

Is the Gospel assailed by the sophistry or malignity of infidelity ? I 
am not to shrink, although human reason affects to relieve me from 
mysteries, and to ground every part of its own theory upon demonstra- 
tion. Here, if I judge truly, if I reason well, I cannot be made ashamed ; 
for if I am saved by this Gospel, if " every one that believeth" is saved 
from guilty fear, and from sin's dominion, what demonstration is so 
clear as this ? The ends of true religion are accomplished by it, and 
it is therefore true religion itself. We know what faith, in the Gospel 
effects ; but where are the moral triumphs of unbelief? 

Does that false and delusive form of Christianity, which boasts of 
its rationalism, endeavour to shame your simple faith by the philoso- 
phizing airs which it assumes 1 You may boldly expose the cheat, 
and charge home a real infidelity upon its head ; the more aggravated 
for its pretended friendship, the more detestable because it cries, 
" Hail, Master !" and betrays him with a kiss. It is " another Gospel ;" 
not that which you have received from St. Paul, the teacher of us 
Gentiles " in faith and verity." It denies the Son, who, though of " the 
seed of David, according to the flesh," has been declared to be the Son 
of God with power, " according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resur- 
rection from the dead." Nor is its Gospel " the power of God," since 
it denies the Holy Spirit, whose power alone can make it so ; and, for 
>l the righteousness which is by faith," it substitutes its own proud and 
delusive Pharisaism. 

Exalted, then, as your religion is, by the Divinity of its Author ; 
energetic, as it is rendered by the influence of the Spirit, " the Lord 
and Giver of life ;" and able as it is to ease every labouring conscience, 
by the offer of a " righteousness which is by faith ;" if you rightly 
think and rightly feel, you can never be made ashamed of your hope. 
Let the cross of Christ be to " the Jews a stumbling block, and to the 
Greeks foolishness ; to us who are saved it is the power of God, and 
the wisdom of God." 

3. The Gospel claims our grateful and practical acceptance. 
Our theoretic faith, however right, is but the more reproving to us, 
and but the more aggravates our guilt, if it become not first the faith 
which moves by fear, and then the faith by which we are impelled into 
that only Refuge in which we can find safety. "Salvation" is the 
great end of the Gospel : nothing less than this can be supposed to be 
an adequate final cause for so wonderful an interposition as the incar- 
nation and sufferings of the Son of God, It was surely not to set up 
mere opinions and arrange new forms of worship that he underwent 


his humiliations and passion ; but to save us from the curse of the law, 
the dominion of sin, and the eternal wrath of our offended God. 
Whatever, therefore, of this Gospel we know, approve, believe, or 
practise, if it leaves us short of personal salvation,. is utterly nugatory 
to us ; this great system has been formed, and Christ has died in vain. 
After all the eternal plans which have been devised, after all the fulfil- 
ments of prophecy, after all the miracles wrought by our Lord and his 
apostles, after all the great providential interferences to preserve the 
truth from desti'uction, and the maintenance of the Church upon its 
Rock, so that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, something 
is necessary to be done by us, although under the aids of grace ; and 
without this, the saving benefit will never become ours. The Gospel 
must be believed ; so believed as to awaken our fears, — for the very 
greatness and irievitableness of our danger was that alone which ren- 
dered it necessary ; so believed that we may become righteous by faith, 
or, in other words, be justified by the remission of our sins. If this do 
not take place, we are only left under the aggravated guilt of neglect- 
ing or refusing the appointed remedy ; and if it take place, it must be 
sought with contrite and believing hearts. Arise, then, every one to 
whom this Gospel comes, " wash away thy sins, calling upon the name 
of the Lord." Turn to him with " weeping and supplication ;" " con- 
fess unto the Lord, and give glory to him." " Take with you words, 
and return unto him :" but with these words of contrite confession, 
take the promises of his mercy in Christ ; rest upon them the whole 
case of thy fallen and endangered spirit; trust in the appointed sacri- 
fice for sin, to the exclusion of every other, and the salvation shall 
be thine. Now thou shalt experience deliverance from guilt and con- 
demnation, from moral bondage and enslaving fears ; and the same 
" power of God" which begins the work shall maintain and perfect it ; 
until salvation from, sin in this life shall issue in that full and complete 
salvation which eternity shall reveal and consummate. 

Sermon XIII. — All Things made for the Son of God. 

" For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are/in earth, 
visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or 
powers : all things were created by him, and for him," Colossians i, 16. 

He who is spoken of in these terms is Christ ; he in whose blood 
we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins ; who stood at the bar of 
Pilate, who was hung upon a cross, and laid in a grave. 

Can any one read them, and not believe him to be God ? Man he 
was ; for he was born, and died. " A man of sorrows" was his appro- 
priate designation : a God of sorrows he could not be. Yet this "man 
of sorrows" is the same person of whom it is predicated in the text, 
that he made all things. The "man of sorrows," therefore, by a 
mysterious union of nature, and identity of person, is the God of 

We grant, that the design of the apostle in the text was not to prcve 


this doctrine : and, in fact, he never attempts to prove it ; he pronounces 
it as a first principle ; he imposes on it the authority of his inspiration. 
He proves that by nothing ; but he proves many things by that : such 
as the efficacy of his atonement ; the glory of our redemption ; for 
" we have redemption through the blood" of Him " who is the image 
of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature." The text is 
added, less for the purpose of a direct argument for the Deity of Christ, 
(though, in fact, it is one,) than to fix the sense in which he uses the 
terms " image of God," and " first-born of every creature." He 
employs them as descriptive of true and proper Divinity : for by " the 
image of the invisible God, the first-bom of every creature, were all 
things created." This carries the doctrine at once to the conviction 
of every man. It is a proof of Deity which no one can deny ; it holds 
on its way with undiminished evidence, through all the tribes of men, 
wherever the Gospel may circulate, and through every age of time. 
If there be a maxim that is written clearly, with all the light of its own 
evidence upon the human soul, it is this, — That he that created all 
things is God. 

By thus ascribing the work of creation to the Son, the apostle, how- 
ever, does not exclude the agency of the Father and the Holy Spirit. 
He does not break in upon the unity of the Godhead, and separate the 
essence of Deity, in distinguishing the persons. The miracles wrought 
by Christ on earth were his works ; yet he ever connects his power 
and wisdom with the power and the wisdom of the Father. It was so 
in creation. That was the work of the triune God ; but the Son was 
the immediate and prominent Agent in wielding the three-fold energy 
of the whole Divine nature. The manner in which this was done we 
cannot in our present state comprehend. It may be a depth below the 
fathoming line of our minds, when glorified ; but the authority on which 
we believe it is sufficient. The work of creation was eminently that 
of the Son. " All things were made by him, and for him." 

The last expression, " for him," shows the reason of this, though the 
manner be concealed. All things were created for the Son, with refe- 
rence to his work and office as Mediator and Redeemer ; to afford him 
a theatre magnificent enough to unfold his purposes, and wield his 
offices in ; and to afford him subjects, agents, and witnesses of their 
accomplishment. This, then, proves that the redeeming scheme, com- 
mitted to the Son of God, to bring into action and consummation, was 
formed prior to the laying of the foundations of the heaven and the 
earth : a doctrine often insisted on by the apostle ; and it gives a 
solemn and beyond comparison exalted grandeur to the Christian 
system. Proportioned to its importance, so to speak, was the time 
taken to deliberate upon it : before the earth was, before a star shot its 
light across the firmament, before a human breath broke the silence of 
eternal nothingness thrown around the throne of God, it was revolved 
in the solitary but all-sufficient mind of the triune God. Proportioned 
to its importance was the theatre on which it was brought into sight 
and action, — the universe of worlds. Proportioned to its importance 
was the Being to whom it was confided, — the Son, — from whose cre- 
ating word that universe of worlds had sprung. Proportioned to its 
importance was the number of beings summoned to witness its glories, 
to partake of its benefits, to press into its active service, to be ruled in 


mercy or conquered by power, to feed upon its felicities for ever, or 
for ever to be crushed beneath the weight of its awakened vengeance. 
" All things were created by him, and for him." 

This is the interesting subject to which I solicit your attention : 
Christ, the first and the last ; at the head of a vast creation ; King of 
a realm of immeasurable extent ; swaying his sceptre, or lifting his rod, 
over every being that he has made or redeemed ; and claiming, by 
virtue of his two-fold right, the agency of every thing for the accomplish- 
ment of his purposes, and the illustration of his glory. It is a subject 
infinitely above my humble capacity ; but it is one which cannot, 
though imperfectly, be contemplated without great practical effect. — 
May the Holy Spirit assist us , 

" What is dark, illumine ; 
What is low, raise and support !" 

The proposition in the text, that all things were made for Christ, is 
that on which we shall exclusively fix our attention ; and it may be 

I. That the earth was made for him. 

As Creator it is doubtless made for him. It reflects his eternal 
power and Godhead ; its extended and varied surface, its rolling ocean, 
all its vast and all its minute objects, the beautiful and the stupendous, 
reveal him to our sight. The world is crowded with characters of God ; 
and he that runs may read. But the apostle tells us, that all things 
were made for the Son, as the Son, that he might become a prominent 
object. Except in this reference to the redeeming plan, why this emi- 
nence should be given to the Son as Creator, no reason can be assigned. 
Regarding him as Redeemer, we learn a reason ; for he was to become 
our Surety to the Father, and to be the object of our special faith. As 
Redeemer, therefore, the earth was made for the Son ; and it has been 
used with special reference to his purposes. This is the scene where 
he began to display his redeeming plans ; where he still carries them 
on ; where he will perfect them. Here sin was permitted to enter, and 
display its malignity ; here grace began to abound ; successive dispen- 
sations have been developing its struggles and its triumphs. Other 
worlds are but the spectators, or the scaffolding that holds them. This 
is the place of combat ; light and darkness, truth and error, rebellion 
and power, Christ and Belial, have been contending ; and the struggle 
still continues. We know, however, how it will terminate. After it 
has developed truths of a kind most important to all created beings to 
know, and produced events which shall repose in the solemn and salutary 
remembrance of created minds for ever ; after it has developed the 
character of God more gloriously than could otherwise have been done 
in grace and justice, and emblazoned it in deathless monuments of 
power, wisdom, and goodness ; the Redeemer God shall deliver up his 
kingdom to the Father, and receive the united homage of immortal men 
and angels, for ever and for ever. 

II. The visible universe was made for him : " All things were made 
by him, and for him." 

Visible nature contains not only the earth on which we live, but 
worlds unnumbered above us. These are the work of his hands. He 
that laid the foundations of the earth stretched out also the heavens as 


a curtain. " He calleth the stars by their names ;" and, because he is 
great in power, not one of them faileth. All these were created by 
him, and for him, the redeeming Son. 

But what connection have these with the work of Christ, as Re- 
deemer ? On the contrary, it has been presumed, that the discoveries 
of modern philosophy, by which they appear to be worlds, have rendered 
it less probable to reason that this speck, of matter should be so spe- 
cially the object of Divine care and interposition. On this subject it is 
sufficient for faith that they were made by the Son, and for him ; and 
that his work on earth is connected with them, and they with his 
redeeming purposes, though we know not how. But let us not thus 
dismiss the question : for this truth, dark as is our vision, is stronger 
than the reason against it ; nor could the objection have been ever 
made, had the full light of revelation been suffered to shine upon the 

In either case, whether the worlds above us be inhabited, or not 
inhabited, the subject is supposed to involve the believer in revelation 
in great difficulties. But why ? Let us take it first, that they are 
destitute of moral beings ; vast but unpeopled masses ; with the furniture 
of worlds, but without inhabitants. So are many immense tracts of this 
globe ; furnished for human residence, but on which human footsteps 
have never trodden. Yet, who thinks of arguing from this fact, that the 
world must be full of people ? But, leaving this, does it follow that they 
are made in vain ? Were there no beings beside man, and had man 
only a present existence ; were he never to start into a spirit, and be 
equal to the angels of God ; this might have weight : but there are un- 
numbered eyes, beside the eyes of God, which view creation ; and 
unnumbered myriads from this earth are yet to be redeemed and glori- 
fied, and with unclouded eyes and unwearied activity are to behold and 
contemplate the works of God. To a believer in revelation this is 
indubitable; Here is a reason for the creation of the whole universe, 
vast as it may be, and boundless as it may expand under the calcula- 
tions of philosophy. God has spread before the eyes and curious minds 
of the inhabitants of the invisible world the scenes of universal nature. 
There his boundless riches are poured forth ; and the profuse energy 
of his Godhead, and the infinite contrivances of his skill, are displayed 
to feed the appetite of intellect ; to renew, by ceaseless novelty, the 
fire of devotion ; and, in connection with a perfect knowledge of his 
moral government, to advance the whole nature of the moral beings he 
has made, though they should only consist of the angels of heaven, and 
the inhabitants of earth. 

Does any one say, there is too much of mere material creation for 
these purposes ? Then, by the same reasoning, I would say, that there 
is a needless waste of matter in the world itself. We have a succes- 
sion of similar objects ; we have in innumerable instances the same 
objects placed before us. Half the number of blades of grass, of stars 
made visible, a globe one thousandth part the dimensions of this which 
we inhabit, might have availed, if God had restricted his goodness to 
what was just sufficient ; but this is not his measure. In nature and 
grace he giveth exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask' or 
think. He courts attention by the high, the deep, the vast, the small ; 
by what is beautiful, by what is awful ; and when the instruction of 


mind is in question, — mind, his own image, — mind, which, like himself 
is immortal, — ample indeed are his ministrations to its advantage. To 
rescue mind, he became incarnate ; to impress it with himself, to 
heighten and exalt, to furnish it with knowledge and pleasure ever 
increasing, he made the stars of heaven like the sand on the sea shore. 
man, " is thine eye evil, because he is good?" If, then, the visible 
universe above us serves to strike the moral of his revelation home to 
our hearts ; if it be all auxiliary to the devotion of men and angels ; all 
these things were created for him, — for purposes of his glory and 

But let us take the other view, and suppose them inhabited ; what 
can follow, from that, unfavourable to the Christian scheme ? Are there 
not suppositions, uncontradicted by any principle we learn in Chris- 
tianity, which are quite reconcilable with the idea that all things were 
made for the Son as Redeemer ; and that, in the most important senses, 
the benefits of his redeeming work on earth may extend to every moral 
agent not doomed to hopeless perdition, which his hand has scattered 
over the infinitude of space 1 

One thing can never be forgotten by the Christian, — that there is 
something in the affairs of this world, and especially in the develope- 
ments of the grace and official acts of. Christ, to interest angels. And 
who are they 1 The courtiers of heaven, the highest orders of the 
intelligent creation ; yet their minds receive information, and their 
affections impulse, from the heights and depths of " the love of Christ, 
which passeth knowledge." Now, that which can interest and improve 
the highest, must interest and improve the lower, orders of beings, who, 
on this supposition, fill distant worlds, though they have kept their 
state, and are both holy and happy. 

But you think, perhaps, that they have no means of forming an 
acquaintance with the nature and benefits of human redemption. What, 
then, can He who made them be at a loss how to instruct them 1 Does 
one sun dart his beams above, below, around, as well as upon a single 
spot of earth ; and cannot the central light of God convey revelation to 
others, as well as to us ? Is there no angel to bear the news 1 no pro- 
phet among them to receive the inspiration ? To them, then, as to 
principalities and powers in heavenly places, may be made known the 
manifold wisdom of God in the Church. And, indeed, if those worlds 
are inhabited, it must be made known to them ; for they are created for 
the Son. 

But there is another idea, which. may show us in how important a 
sense all holy and happy beings may be benefited by the work of 
redemption, even when they are not its direct subjects. What is it 
that secures the constant and free obedience of happy intelligences 
after their state of trial is ended 1 It is not force. They are free ; yet 
they cannot fall. How, then, are they preserved, but by such views 
of the evil of sin, of the character of God, and the excellency of holi- 
ness, as exercise a powerful and ever-increasing bias upon the will "' 
But for the events of this low«r world, for any thing we know to the 
contrary, no being would have had a stronger hold upon bliss than Adam 
had. How powerfully the redemption of man must operate, with all the 
events connected with it, by showing the evil of sin, and the justice of 
God, we know in part from our own experience. By these clear views, 


— more clear than on such subjects we could otherwise have had, — 
angels are probably confirmed in their glory ; and certainly the saints 
are. Here, then, is an ennobling sense in which all things were made 
lor him. If love be a motive to obedience, every happy creature shall 
fuel its influence by the history of the dying love of Christ. If holi- 
ness, justice, truth, mixed with the milder lustres of compassion, thus 
shed their awful glories upon Calvary ; and if a thought could arise, 
" Let us sin, because grace abounds ;" the yawning depths of hell would 
strike the impression home to the inmost spirit, " Our God is a con- 
suming fire." 

If, however, any should yet think, that, among so many myriads of 
worlds, it is incredible that God should look upon man, and should re- 
deem him, let such a man go and study the words of our Lord, " What 
man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not 
leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is 
lost, until he find it 1 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his 
shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together 
his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me ; for I 
have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise 
joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over 
ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance," Luke xv, 4-7. 
When the moral of this parable has sunk into his heart, let him go 
forth with David, and in David's spirit, not that of cold philosophic in- 
credulity, and exclaim, " When I consider thy heavens, the work of 
thy fingers, the moon and stars which thou hast ordained ; what is man, 
that thou art mindful of him 1 and the son of man, that thou visitest 
him ?" Psalm viii, 3, 4. 

III. Things invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or 
principalities, or powers, were created for him. 

These expressions refer to those beings we usually call by the gene- 
ral name of angels. I shall not attempt to explain them. They pro- 
bably relate to the different angelic orders and offices ; and they are 
not given to gratify a vain curiosity, but to inform us that there are no 
beings, however high and glorious in the creation of God, that were 
not made for Christ, and put under him. Of this we have sufficient 
intimation in Scripture, to establish the fact, and to impress us with 
the glories of the Messiah God, and the interest which all heaven has 
in his plans. 

When He who afterward hung upon the cross laid the foundation of 
the earth, they sang the birth of material nature. To their wondering 
eyes the earth rose from the deep of nothingness, and light displayed 
the perfect workmanship of God. In the intercourse carried on by 
God with the patriarchs, they bore his messages. When the law was 
given, they collected the clouds, shook the earth, and spake in the 
fearful name of God. In the visions of the prophets they appeared in 
the airy scene, and marshalled the prophetic pictures and emblems 
which were to show forth Christ and his kingdom. Gabriel announced 
the birth of John, the forerunner, and of Jesus. They pressed into all the 
scenes of his humiliation, his temptation, his agony, his death. When 
the first begotten was brought into the world, they bowed to the mandate, 
" Let all the angels of God worship him ;" and when he ascended to his 
kingdom, they pledged themselves to his cause. In the early ministry 


of the apostles they were often conspicuous agents ; and in the ma- 
chinery of the Revelation they are in the sublimest attitudes, the minis- 
ters of his terror and grace. When the dead shall rise, they shall be 
present. At the final developement, they will gather together the elect 
from the four winds of heaven, in order to their full glorification ; and 
' gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do 
iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire," Matt, xiii, 41, 42. 

If from the dimness of another state sufficient light breaks to enable 
us, at intervals at least, to see "thrones, principalities, and powers" in 
the train of Jesus ; if through the texture of the veil we see those 
flames of love and zeal occasionally flitting past us, in work con- 
nected with our interest ; what are we to learn from this ? Numerous, 
doubtless, are the lessons ; greatly, and in various ways, does this 
minister to our edification. But, if only one end were answered, it 
would be most important to us ; if it only reproved us for our indiffer- 
ence to our religion. The " things" which we too often forget, and are 
too cold in making known to others, " the angels desire to look into." 

IV. Man was made for the Son of God. 

Man is the great subject of redeeming grace ; and for the sake of 
his redemption, and all the consequences connected with it, man and 
every thing else were made. Other beings may derive benefit indi- 
rectly, or, like angels, they may be employed as agents in the accom- 
plishment of the favourite design committed to the Son ; but man is the 
subject of this vast display of love and mercy. 

We are not indeed to suppose that the fall of man was decreed, and 
that God disposed things so that it must happen ; but the scheme of 
salvation was laid, and everything ananged in the prospect of that 
event. God foresaw that sin would enter, that man would fall, that the 
race would become guilty and miserable ; and the Son was made the 
Creator, that he might with more effect become the Redeemer. Man 
was thus made for him ; not a sinner for him ; but his own immediate 
creature for him ; that he might espouse his cause, and single him out 
as an object on which to display the tenderness of his compassion, — 
the profusion of his mercy. 

Before this could take place, something, however, was to be done 
for man by the Son ; done first in covenant agreement with the Father, 
and then actually in the fulness of time : and on this it is necessary 
for us to dwell, before we can understand in how high and important 
a sense man is given to the Son, and is made for him. There are 
principles in the government of God not to be compromised ; rights 
not to be given up ; and these principles and rights were in dreadful 
array against man as a sinner. This rendered his case hopeless. Jus- 
tice demanded that he should be left to the threatened penalty, — death ; 
death which had destroyed the germ of immortality in his body, disor- 
ganized its beauteous frame, and exposed it to disease and dissolution ; 
death which had withered the powers of a spirit still immortal, and 
tortured its deep sensibility with all the varieties of mental wo. No 
way of escape was left but redemption ; and none could pay the re- 
demption price but the Son. It must be an adequate compensation ; 
it must secure all the rights of God. It was done. In the silent coun- 
cils of Godhead, before the world began, it was resolved. " Lo, I 
come to do thy will," said the Son ; and the covenant was made. It 


was gradually unfolded, through successive dispensations, till the ful- 
ness of time. Then he came ; the pledge was redeemed, the cove- 
nant established, and. the title of all who' had been saved prospec- 
tively confirmed. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, 
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten Son of the 
Father,) full of grace and truth." In that flesh he suffered: How 
much, we cannot tell ; but " no sorrow was like unto his sorrow." It 
was bodily pain ; for that was part of the penalty. It was mental pain ; 
for it was the hiding of God's face. It was the array of demons ; it 
was blackness and darkness ; it was hell, — the sufferings of the damn- 
ed accumulated in the person of our Sufferer. The spirit trembled, 
and the body died. This was the redemption price ; and he rose to 
claim the right of man, the special object of his benevolence and sal- 

How then does the plan develope itself as to the human race ? Let 
us take man as an individual. It finds him guilty ; but offers, by the 
hands of his redeeming God, a full and ample pardon and oblivion of 
the past. It finds him in error, earthly, at enmity with his God, under 
the power of Satan, the habitation of evil, wasting life in vanity and 
vexation, gliding down the stream of a short life to endless misery. 
It awakens his conscience ; sets before him his condition ; bends his 
Avill ; elevates his affections ; works in him an entire change ; leads 
him in the dignity of holiness through a polluted world ; gives him the 
neck of his former masters ; urges him from conquest to conquest, till 
death itself falls, a stingless monster, at his feet ;' conducts him through 
the gate into the high abode of the spirits of just men made perfect ; 
and there bids him wait, till his body shall awake from its dust, clothed 
in robes of immortality, and admitted to the highest heaven, associated 
with the first-born sons, and, like them, beholds the face of the Father, 
and- joins in their service of zeal, and their work of eternal praise. 

But, great as this is, we should lose much of the dignity and glory 
of the plans of Heaven, were we to confine them to man as an indi- 
vidual only. The manner in which the sad effects of sin have been pre- 
sented to us most sensibly, and consequently in the present state most 
affectingly, is in man collectively, considered as a whole, or as he is 
seen distributed into " nations, and kindreds, and people." View the 
moral map. Here and there you behold a speck green and fertile, 
" like a field which the Lord hath blessed ;" but the eye fails to track 
over the boundless deserts with which they are surrounded. In a few 
places you behold truth studding with her rays the almost universal 
darkness, while the intervals are filled up with clouds and gloom. Nar- 
row as is the way of life, it is broad enough for the few that walk in 
it; while in the ample path of self indulgence and earthliness, the 
crowd rushes in pressed ranks, and in a continuous line, to everlasting 
perdition. Death stalks in triumph ; hell shouts over the victims ; 
superstition skulks, with bloody knife, under the pall within which she 
perpetrates her crimes ; and Satan is still, in an eminent sense, " the 
god of this world." 

But forbidding as is the aspect of these truths, man, collectively 
through all his kindreds, is made for the Son. " He ruleth over men, 
and hath dominion over the nations." And he must assert his rightl 
If his plans extend not to enlighten the dark, to purge the polluted, and 


recover this wandering world, — if he is not appointed to overthrow the 
tyranny of sin and Satan, to reduce the chaos, to make his truth tri- 
umphant, to present a rebellious but penitent race to the Father, for 
forgiveness and adoption, and for a Father's blessing, — what means the 
prophetic scene where he " travels in the greatness of his strength, 
mighty to save?" What meant the all-important words, " All power 
is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach 
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost : teaching them to observe all things whatso- 
ever I have commanded you : and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto 
the end of the world ?" Matt, xxviii, 18-20. What means that action 
of the "mighty angel," who "took up a stone like a great mill stone, 
and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that grea r , 
city Babylon be thrown down," — the type, not perhaps of one only, but 
of every false religion, that has debased and demoralized man, — " and 
shall be found no more at all V And above all, what means the ecstasy 
of heaven and earth when the Lamb took the book of prophecy from 
the hand of Him that sitteth upon the throne 1 What was that book, 
but the counsels of God respecting man ? What its seven seals, to be 
opened successively by the Lamb, but his successive accomplishment 
of those counsels 1 Seal after seal they are opened ; and the glorious 
issue we may gather from the interest produced in every creature, in 
heaven, in earth, in the sea, and under the earth. " And I beheld, and 
I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts 
and the elders : and the number of them was ten thousand times ten 
thousand, and thousands of thousands ; saying with a loud voice, Worthy 
is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, 
and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature 
which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as 
are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and 
honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, 
and unto the Lamb for ever and ever," Rev. v, 11-13. 

We have lived in times of darkness and confusion, with only a few 
gleams of heavenly light to cheer us ; but we are not to argue against 
the result. " The counsel of the Lord, that shall stand ; and the 
thoughts of his heart unto all generations." So we have seen a gloomy 
morning followed by a bright and joyous day. We have seen dark 
clouds gather around the morning sun, as if to extinguish his beams ; 
and fogs condense themselves, as though to shroud the earth from his 
influence ; but we have seen too the glorious burst of his splendour, the 
light subduing the darkness ; we have watched the progress of the 
heaven-directed orb, till, after having scattered life over the world, he 
has closed the day amidst the homage of the same clouds, gorgeous in 
his splendours, and heightening his original glories with floods of 
molten light, and richest forms of reflected lustre. 

Lastly. All things are for the Son, because the agency of every 
thing that can be employed in his cause is given to him. 

As every thing was made by the Son, with reference to bringing into 
action and completion the purposes of redemption, it is natural to con- 
sider this not only as the end of every dispensation to the world, but 
to look for an obvious connection between every great event and the 
moral improvement of man. This, however, cannot always be traced 


by us , and for evident reasons, — we can but see parts of a plan which 
comprehends all beings and ages. It is with our mind as with our 
eyes. It has its horizon ; and more unequal is that which we can take 
in with our mind, in comparison with the whole, than is the sensible 
horizon traversed by sight to the dimensions of the globe. Beside 
this, it is often the pleasure of God to travel the path of his counsels 
alone, to make us sensible of our want of skill by leaving us in the 
labyrinth, till, by some unexpected turn, he appears in sight, and we 
confess that he only is equal to his own work. " Verily thou art a 
God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour." 

We are also to consider, that as the work of subduing the world 
necessarily implies the government of free agents, his plans are liable 
to counteractions ; that his is not only a work of mercy, but of justice ; 
and that justice is often employed to punish by the delay or refusal of 
mercies. All these circumstances create not only difficulty in the 
comprehension of the proceedings of the great Ruler, but sometimes 
apparent contradictions. But though the designs of God are often 
turned out of their right course, they are not frustrated. They run to 
their consummation by a circuitous course ; the surmounting of diffi- 
culty only rises in proof of the superior wisdom with which they are 
planned, and the superior skill with which they are conducted ; and as 
the wrath of man is made to praise him, so success is often laid in 
apparent disappointment, and the folly of man overruled to display 
more eminently the wisdom of God. To trace accurately all the details 
of the administration of Jesus, in whose hands the affairs of the world 
have ever been, may be one of the exalting employments of heaven ; 
but it is encouraging here upon earth to see evidence that every event 
and every agent, though we cannot always discover how, is pressed 
into the service of Christ, and the salvation of the world. True it is, 
that his way is in the waters, and his footsteps are not known ; yet 
here and there a billow bending under that footstep, and a wave curled 
by its pressure, shows to the attentive mind its general direction. All 
things are for the Son. Whether political events, or the appearance 
of distinguished characters, or the discoveries of science, or the 
energk-j of his Church ; all move in his train, and all impel the wheels 
of his chariot. 

See the past in proof of the whole. See political events connected 
with his plans. The call of Abraham is the preservation of the true 
religion ; the existence of Israel among the nations, a constant, testi- 
mony to the true faith ; their dispersion, the means of diffusing it among 
the heathens, and a corroboration of its truth among Christians. The 
unity of the Roman empire is the means of the easy circulation of the 
Gospel through the civilized world ; the northern invasion, the bringing 
of its myriads into the fold of Christ. The separation of the Roman 
empire into many small states in the west, too small to allow them 
subsistence by land, is the means of driving them to the ocean, and of 
planting Christian colonies on the shores of every considerable heathen 
state in the world, and thereby opening a passage for the light into the 
abodes of darkness. 

See great characters appearing at different periods : Moses, to 
establish the Jewish institute ; Ezra, to restore it ; Nebuchadnezzar 
made the most potent monarch of the east, that his conversion might 


have more influence ; Cyrus, that he might build the temple of God ; 
John, that he might be the forerunner of Jesus ; Paul, that he might 
be the apostle of the Gentiles ; the Protestant reformers, Avith qualities 
admirably fitted to their work ; and the modern missionaries of the 
day, actuated by a quenchless zeal, and possessing every diversity of 

See the discoveries of science, or of apparent chance, made for him 
as their highest object : printing, placing truth beyond the power of 
corruption ; and giving wings to the word of God, like the " angel 
flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to 
preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and 
kindred, and tongue, and people ;" — the magnetic needle, trembling on 
its pivot, leading the seaman across oceans which none before ever 
dared ; throwing upon the seas a floating bridge to connect the most 
distant continents ; — and commerce, with her various inventions, bring- 
ing the whole world into acquaintance and intercourse. Who sees not 
in all this an evident and direct bearing upon the accomplishment of 
the plans of the Redeemer ? 

And, finally, see the Church, the direct and authorized instrument of 
his glory. Her Sabbaths are for him ; her ministers, " whether Paul, 
or Apollos, or Cephas," are for him ; her ordinances, her zeal, her 
purity, her learning, her talent, rank, property, all are laid at his feet. 
His " people are willing in the day of his power." In his name they 
lift up their banners, and pledge themselves to an unceasing war with 
sin, to an unintermitting war with his enemies, till they overthrow the 
last intrenchment, storm the last fortress which vice and ignorance have 
erected, planting upon it the sacred standard with shouts of victory, 
and hailing it with shouts of gratulation, " Grace, grace unto it !" 
" All things were made by him, and for him." 

I will conclude with a few practical reflections. 

1. Can we, brethren, dwell for a moment on a subject of this kind, 
without being convinced of the infinite value of salvation ; that salva- 
tion which too many neglect, the salvation of the immortal soul ? The 
subject stamps it with infinite importance. To introduce a plan of 
redemption, and to effect it, all things were made. To enable God, 
consistently with his justice, to save guilty sinners, the Son of God 
himself, the Creator of all things, died upon the cross, and poured out 
his blood ; and to accomplish this scheme he was raised to heaven. Is 
it possible that we can neglect so great a salvation ? Is it possible 
that we can live a moment longer without being deeply impressed with 
this, — that in comparison of this great salvation every thing is less 
than nothing and vanity 1 I may add too, in proportion to all these 
things is the guilt of every man that neglects it. In proportion to the 
value of the death of Jesus, and the infinite obligations we are placed 
under, must be the dreadful guilt of every man who, having the Gospel 
preached to him, lives according to the course of this world. Let 
every conscience be alarmed; for the adequate punishment of such a 
sin can be nothing less than eternal banishment from God ; blackness, 
and darkness, and wo, for ever. 

2. It teaches us whose we are. 

All things were made for him. Then indeed we are his in the most 
absolute sense. As redeemed creatures we are his. Every man who 
Vol. I 13 


has taken the powers of his body or mind, and used them contrary to 
the rights of God, and has made them instruments of sin, has com- 
mitted felony on the property of Jesus Christ. He has taken what 
God designed to be his hallowed temple, and introduced into it a pol- 
luted world. God is ever tenacious of his temple ; ever tenacious of 
his own right and glory ; nor is he less so when the spirit of man is 
in question. He has set a value upon it. His object is to recover it. 
He calls it his right. Be convinced of this, that you are never in a 
more noble sense your own than when you practically acknowledge 
that you belong to him. When every faculty is employed in his ser- 
vice, then only do you derive the richest blessing. 

3. The subject affords encouragement to every penitent who is 
seeking forgiveness, as it shows the infinite value of that blood which 
bought him. " We are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as 
silver and gold," nor with the blood of beasts ; " but with the precious 
blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish, and without spot." 
Did not the apostle design to draw from it this most important infer- 
ence, that no blood of any other sacrifice could afford rational confi- 
dence in approaching God ? But when we see that He who died for 
us is properly God, we perceive a value in his atonement, on which we 
may rest. We have deserved nothing, but his blood pleads for us ; the 
blood of Him by whom we were created ,' the blood of him who made 
" all things, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers." 

4. The subject. discovers the absolute security of all good men. 
All those who have believed in Jesus Christ, " all the saints are in thy 
hand." He on whom we have believed, to whom we must commit the 
direction of our path* and the keeping of our spirits, he is the true 
God. If a man live by faith on him, he hangs on omnipotent power. 
He can be at no loss to succour us who upholds all things. We may 
live with confidence, and die without fear ; and find the same God 
beyond the boundaries of this world. Commit yourselves, then, into 
his hands, in the full persuasion that he who has undertaken our sal- 
vation is the absolute Proprietor of all in heaven and all on earth. 

Sermon XIV. — The Enemies of Christ vanquished. 

"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine 
enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: 
rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day 
of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning •• thou 
hast the dew of thy youth," Psalm ex, 1-3. 

This passage is quoted by our Lord in a dispute with the doctors 
of the Jewish Church : " While the Pharisees were gathered together, 
Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ 1 whose son is he ? 
They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How 
then doth David in Spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto 
my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy 
footstool ? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son ? And no 


man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that 
day forth ask him any more questions," Matt, xxii, 41-46. 
From this we learn, 

1. That the psaliri was written by David, according to its title : a 
consideration of importance, as I shall soon have occasion to show. 

2. That the words were written under the influence of the Holy 
Ghost. " David in" or by " the Spirit calleth him Lord." Whatsoever 
then the words may import, they do not contain the private, unautho- 
rized opinions of David, but are the solemn revelations of the Holy 

3. That the words are spoken of Christ. He is David's " Lord ;" 
he is seated at the right hand of God ; he shall rule in the midst of 
his enemies. They speak of him, and of the establishment of his 
universal kingdom. In applying them to the present occasion then, 
We proceed upon sure ground. Here is nothing fanciful, nothing 

Our attention is called, 

I. To the person to whom universal dominion is assigned. 

1. He is spoken of as truly man. This may appear from the phrase^ 
" Sit thou on my right hand " It imports being raised from a lower to 
a higher condition. It implies that he. had been in the hands of his 
enemies; and that now these enemies were to be made Ins footstool. 
Our Saviour also calls the person here termed David's Lord his son ; 
and the Pharisees agree that the same personage is spoken of under 
both these titles. Such was our Saviour. He was a son of David , 
he was once irt a low and humble condition ; he was once in the hands 
of those enemies whom he so soon afterward made his footstool. 

2. It is as clear that the person spoken of was contemplated as God. 
He was David's " Lord." Now, as David was an independent monarch, 
he had no earthly lord. Whom, then; could he contemplate and call 
his Lord, but him Who has " a name written on his vesture and his 
thigh, King of kings, and Lord of lords ?" Precisely on this point rests 
the weight of our Lord's silencing question proposed to the Pharisees. 
With many other essential doctrines of the ancient faith of the Jewish 
Church, they had given up the doctrine of the Divinity of the Messiah. 
They expected him only to perform a low and earthly part at his advent ; 
and they assigned him a low and earthly nature. " If then he be David's 
son, how doth he call him Lord ?" This they could not answer on their 
own system. The quibbling of modern Jews and Socinians had not 
then been resorted to. The only answer they could give was fatal to 
their errors ; and they answered him not a word. 

Thus, then, the universal government is placed in the hands of a God- 
Man ; in the hands of him who was of " the seed of David according 
to the flesh, but declared to be the Son of God with power, according 
to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." As man, 
he is identified with us ; he bears us the affection of a brother, as well 
as of a Creator. As God, his sufferings have a boundless merit ; and 
he saves to the uttermost all them that come to God by him. 

The text calls our attention, 

II. To his solemn inauguration to his. regal dignity. " The Lord said 
unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies 
thy footstool." 


When did this take place ? When was this predictive vision ful- 
filled ? It was fulfilled in that glorious resurrection and ascension 
which succeeded his bitter cross and passion. 

Mark the time. His enemies had retired from his cross exulting; 
they had sealed the stone, and set the guard. Then the quickening 
Spirit awoke the sacred victim ; and he rose to die no more. 

Mark the pomp of the coronation day of the King of kings ; a pomp 
corresponding with his dignity, and the glory of his empire. It was 
but very partially discovered to the disciples at the ascension ; as too 
overpowering to burst on the sight of mortal men. But there were 
indications of it presented to the view of the disciples. They saw the 
Lord taken up ; and two angels, a part of the procession, waiting behind 
the cloud, announced to the gazing men of Galilee his second coming. 
Of what took place behind the screen of that cloud which separated 
him from their sight, nothing is said in the evangelic history ; for the 
disciples were not witnesses. But the same David, who in Spirit 
called him Lord, and bowed with prostrate homage before his supreme 
Divinity, saw that pomp by the same unveiling Spirit, and has recorded 
it in two of his Psalms. In one he tells us, that when the Lord 
" ascended on high," " the chariots of God were twenty thousand, even 
thousands of angels ;" that " the Lord was among them," in the midst 
of them, "as in Sinai," Psalm lxviii, 17, 18, with a pomp as visible 
and glorious. Thus the Sufferer for man, he whom his enemies had 
taunted with his pretensions to kingly dignity, he over whose cross had 
been written in three languages, as though to publish the derision through 
the earth, " Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews," — was hailed 
with acclamation as Sovereign by all the host of heaven ; and the song 
they sung as they approached the gates is expressly given in another 
Psalm : " Lift up your heads, O ye gates ; and be ye lift up, ye ever- 
lasting doors ; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this 
King of glory ? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in 
battle. Lift up your heads, ye gates ; even lift them up, ye ever- 
lasting doors ; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King 
of glory ? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory," Psa. xxiv, 7-10 

We proceed to consider, 

III. The enemies arrayed against his rightful claims. 

Just as is his sovereignty, and gracious as are the ends it was de- 
signed to accomplish, he has his enemies : " Sit thou at my right hand 
until I make thine enemies thy footstool." 

It is one of the saddest testimonies to the depravity of our nature, 
that " the carnal mind is enmity against God." This expression marks 
also the universality of the disease. Every mind is enmity to God 
until it is regenerate ; for " that which is born of the flesh is flesh." — 
Nor is it difficult to make out this charge against our nature. 

Let us take this enmity even in its mildest form, and where it has 
been from education, and various other causes, considerably counter- 
acted ; among professors of the faith of Christ, but who have never 
felt the regenerating power of the Spirit. Why is it that God is not 
in all your thoughts ? that your minds so frequently, and for considera- 
ble intervals of time, lose all recollection of his presence, and agency, 
and authority ? Can this arise from any thing but aversion ? Thoughts 
of Christ are not welcome to the mind 


Why is it that the world occupies your entire care and love ? Is it 
not because, when worldly and spiritual things come into comparison, 
you dislike your Saviour, and your hearts go after your idols ? 

Why is it that, when the reasonableness of your subjection to Christ 
is pressed upon your understanding, and in judgment you are convinced 
that it is equally your duty and interest to submit in all things to his 
will ; that you, nevertheless, find reasons to disobey the dictates of your 
minds, and to violate your vows ? There is dislike and enmity against 
your Lord. 

You may go a considerable way in assenting to the claims of Christ 
to rule over you ; but when they are pressed to their full extent against 
all your favourite occupations and pleasures, against your besetting 
sins ; why do you resist this as strict, and seek some easier, some 
smoother path ? This arises from enmity to Christ. Nay, this in its 
mildest form has in it all the essential characters of rebellion against 
his authority ; for where is the formalist, where the lukewarm, where 
the worldly and sinning professed believer in Christianity, who would 
not alter its constitution, and render it accommodating to his own 
habits, if he could ? If a man would alter the fundamental laws of 
government, and wrest the sceptre and the sword out of the hands of 
his monarch, is he not at enmity with him ? is he not a rebel ? And 
pray, where is the sinner who would not escape being judged, and re^- 
peal the threatenings of Christianity, and connect safety with sin and 
carelessness ? thus altering in his wishes the fundamental laws of 
Christ's kingdom, and deposing him from his seat. 

If there be then proofs of enmity in the house of his professed 
friends, under this pretence of saying, " Lord, Lord," the fact can want 
no evidence in the world at large. Look at the herd of daring violators 
of his laws. There is not a regulation of his which they do not spurn 
■and trample under foot. Look at the apostate band of infidels and 
blasphemers. With an enmity most intolerant and bitter would they 
destroy his revelations, and make his precious name, which shall endure 
for ever, to perish from the earth. Look at the Jews. Like their 
forefathers, they " gnash upon him with their teeth." Look at the 
millions of Mohammedans, who prefer to him a lying and impure im- 
postor, deny his Godhead, atonement, and regal character, and even 
cherish toward all who bear his name the most deadly hostility. And 
the pagan systems are founded on enmity to Christ, as revealed in the 
patriarchal promises. The original authors of the different forms of 
paganism " did not like to retain God in their knowledge ;" and from 
enmity to him, they set themselves to obliterate the pure principles 
and rites of the patriarchal morality and religion. 

And what is it that presents such barriers to the progress of his truth 
in the world but this enmity ? In many places there are combinations 
of political power formed against it. " The kings of the earth set 
themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, 
and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, 
and cast away their cords from us," Psalm ii, 2, 3. And how many of 
his ministers do we see who publish his name, and invite submission to 
him," in vain ? In the camp of his enemies the people will remain ; while 
the unsuccessful ambassador of peace returns, saying, " All the day long 
have I stretched o«t my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people," 


And yet how strange a collocation of words is " enmity against God," 
and God in Christ ! Behold his purity, his meekness, his wisdom, his 
kind teachings, his generous sufferings for men, his constant interces- 
sion, his willingness to forgive ; the freeness and copiousness of the 
blessings which he has to bestow upon all who will ask of him ; and 
say, is there a stigma upon human nature so deep, so dark, as this, — ■ 
that it is enmity to God ! Go, shut your books on the controversy as 
to original sin, and the natural corruption of the human heart. We 
need them not. Close them, on which ever side they are .written. — . 
This is enough. Christ has his enemies among those who are most 
indebted to his kindness. He has not only nourished and brought them 
up, by his creative and preserving grace, but died that they might live ; 
and yet, " hear, heavens ■! and give ear, earth ! they," even they, 
" have rebelled against him !" 

We proceed to notice, 

IV. The means of their subjugation 

These are three : the sending of the rod of his strength out of 
Zion, — granting days of power,- — and the willing co-operation of his 

1 . The rod of his power. 

Here is a reference to the sceptre, which in ancient times was a 
straight rod, to denote equity and truth. It is spoken of as an instru- 
ment of grace ; and hence we read of holding out the sceptre as a 
token of favour. It was also an instrument of power ; and is here 
called his strong rod ; " the rod of his strength." The phrase, " to go 
out of Zion," enables us to ascertain the precise meaning. It is 
synonymous with " the law of the Lord," which it was said should " go 
out of Zion ; and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem," Isaiah ii, 3, 
The strong rod, therefore, is the Gospel, both in its grace and justice; 
and the joyful thought is inspired, that it is by his Gospel that Jesus 
rules the world, and will subdue his enemies. The epithet " strong," 
applied to the rod, marks the mighty power and efficacy of the Gos- 
pel, when wielded by the hand of its Lord, to govern and to save the 

Mark its strength. 

There is the strength of its evidence. Its Divine origin is demon- 
strated by prophecies and miracles. The prophecies imply a know- 
ledge of future contingencies ; and therefore were uttered under the 
inspiration of Him to whom are " known all his works from the begin- 
ning of the world." The miracles were wrought by the power of God ; 
and hence the Gospel bears the indubitable seal of the Almighty. 

The very majesty of its enunciation gives it strength. It was not 
delivered by its Author in the hesitating, speculating manner, with which 
even wise men were in the habit of advancing their opinions ; but with 
the very port and air of a Divine mind, to which all its truths, deep as 
they are, were familiar. He speaks as one having authority. " Our 
Gospel came not unto you in word only, but in power, and in the Holy 
Ghost, and in much assurance" (srX»]po<popia ;) a word which denotes 
the carrying of a ship forward, with her" sails spread, and filled with 
wind ; urging on its way against opposing currents, thus bearing down 
irresistibly upon the convictions of men. 

It is the rod of hjs strength, because it searches the heart. It reveals 


man to man. St. James calls it a " glass," a reflecting mirror. St. 
Paul ascribes to it the attributes of Divinity. " The word of the Lord 
is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing 
even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and 
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," 
Heb. iv, 12. Thus its power has been felt in all ages. After listen- 
ing to our Saviour, the woman of Samaria said, " Come, see a man 
that hath told me all things whatsoever I have done." St. Paul, speak- 
ing of the assemblies of the Christians, where the word of God is 
declared by the aid of the Spirit, says, " If there come in one that 
believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of 
all ; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest ; and so falling 
down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you 
of a truth," 1 Cor. xiv, 24, 25. Thus many of you, nay, all of you, 
feel. Your consciences acknowledge the decision of God's word ; you 
bow to it, whether you will or not ; you are " convinced of all, you are 
judged of all." 

But that which gives it its mightiest energy is its love. Here lies 
its omnipotence ; and therefore St. Paul determined to " know nothing 
among men, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." No other system 
could tell guilty and wretched man, that " God so loved the world, as to 
give his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not 
perish, but have eternal life." Tell a sinful man that he is wrong, — 
he knows it ; tell him that he is under wrath, — he feels it ; but that 
alone breaks not, subdues not, the heart. But tell him that, although 
he is cast out, he is not forsaken ; though he has forgotten God, God 
has never forgotten him ; that he is waiting to forgive and to bless ; — 
by this, how many hearts have been subdued ! And by this the wide 
world shall be subdued also. 

True it is, that the sceptre is an emblem of power and justice, and 
that the reign of Christ has its judgments great and terrible ; and these 
will have their share in removing hinderances out of the way, and in 
making the punishment of his enemies conspicuous ; but it is by the 
cross that the nations are to be brought to the obedience of faith ; and 
by love shall they be won back to God. 

2. Granting days of power. 

Some critics read, " In the day of the gathering thy forces, thy peo- 
ple shall be willing ;" but every interpretation must go to this point, — 
that the special exertion of the power and authority of Christ, to increase 
the number of his subjects, and to enlarge his kingdom, must be intended. 
Such a day of power was the pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was 
poured out, and three thousand souls were converted to Christianity. 
Such were the earliest ages of the Church, during which a rich effu- 
sion of Divine influence was vouchsafed to believers ; in consequence 
of which men in great numbers were raised up to preach Christ cruci- 
fied, a way was opened for the exercise of their ministry, and the Lord 
mightily gave testimony to the word of his grace. Such was also the 
time of the reformation, when suitable instruments were raised up to 
revive primitive Christianity ; men who chose rather to pass through 
the fires of martyrdom than deny the truth ; who succeeded in deliver^ 
ing whole nations from the tyranny of the " man of sin ;" and by whose 
instrumentality a new and irresistible impulse was given to the cause 


of true religion. Such, also, is our own day, in which we witness a 
great and blessed revival of apostolical Christianity ; but we are taught 
to expect still greater things. 

Hear the animating language of prophecy : " The voice of him that 
crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight 
in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, 
and every mountain and hill shall be made low ; and the crooked shall 
be made straight, and the rough places plain ; and the glory of the Lord 
shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together : for the mouth of 
the Lord hath spoken it," Isaiah xl, 3-5. Fulfilled in part as this pre- 
diction was, in John the Baptist, and the personal appearance of Christ, 
no one supposes that it then received its full accomplishment. It 
belongs to a class of predictions which have a successive and a germi- 
nant accomplishment. Its full meaning is to be displayed only in the 
latter day. Heralds shall precede the full manifestation of our Lord ; 
and their voices shall be heard in the wilderness of pagan lands. Such 
are the missionaries of modern days. Into how many of these wilder- 
nesses have they penetrated ! Behold them in the wilds of the west, in 
the deserts of Africa, in the distant islands of the south seas, in the 
steppes of Tartary, on the verge of China, in the jungles of Ceylon 
and India, crying, " Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths 

Special operations of Providence seem likewise to be promised in 
this prophecy, to be effected in the day of the Lord's power. " Every 
valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low." 
Old systems of government, hostile to Christianity, shall be overthrown , 
commerce shall bring pagan nations into beneficial intercourse with 
Christian people ; and a way shall thus be opened for the general 
spread of " the glorious Gospel of the blessed God." Kings shall be- 
come nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers, to the Church ; and 
in various ways, under a secret influence from above, " the earth shall 
help the" mystical " woman." And then " the glory of the Lord shall 
be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Precisely the same 
ideas are contained in a subsequent part of the chapter, containing the 
striking prophecy to which we have just referred. When " Zion gets 
up into the high mountain," rouses herself to exertion, and looks out 
for the opportunities of usefulness ; when Jerusalem, the depository of 
" good tidings," lifts up her voice with strength, and no longer hides the 
word, and whispers only, as though half ashamed of it, but obeys the 
Divine command, " Lift it up, and be not afraid," — then, " Behold," says 
the prophet, " the Lord God will come with a strong hand ; his arm 
shall rule for him, his reward is with him, and his work before him ;" 
or, as Lowth renders the passage, " Behold, the Lord Jehovah shall 
come against the strong one," the god of this world, " and his arm shall 
prevail over him." Then, too, when he has thus gathered Jew and 
Gentile into one fold, " he shall feed his flock like a shepherd ; he shall 
gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall 
gently lead those that are with young." 

3. Thy people shall be willing in this day ; or, as the Hebrew 
literally signifies, they shall be " willingnesses." We see this willing- 
ness in the day of primitive Christianity. When the apostles were 
richly baptized with the Holy Ghost, they were willing to publish tho 


joyful news of salvation through the crucified and risen Redeemer ; 
and when the same Spirit rested upon the disciples, they gladly assisted 
in the good work. Money was laid at the apostles' feet ; the Christians 
helped the messengers of the Churches on their way after a godly sort ; 
and both among ministers and private Christians there was a general 
willingness both to labour and suffer for the furtherance of the cause 
of Christ. So it was, also, at the time of the reformation, and in the 
late revival of religion ; and in this spirit we must act. In this spirit 
the true people of God will act in reference to the work and honour of 
their Lord. 

The text specifies, 

V. The glorious result : " In the beauties of holiness, from the womb 
of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth." 

This clause has greatly exercised the ingenuity of critics ; but the 
view which most accords with the context is, that it predicts the vast 
enlargement of Christ's kingdom, and the countless number of his 
subjects ; countless as the dew of the morning. This metaphor of dew 
was not only most appropriate to convey the idea of multitude, but could 
not be present to a mind like that of David, — so susceptible of all the 
grand and tender and beauteous impressions of the works of God, — 
without also suggesting the idea of an exquisite and diffusive beauty. 
When, therefore, the prophet leads us from the means by which the 
kingdom of Christ is to be established, to contemplate their efficient 
results, he presents the glorious scene before us under two views. The 
first is, the multitude of Christ's subjects : " Canst thou number the 
drops of dew ?" As impossible will it be to estimate the number of the 
saved of the human race, in that period to which we look as the end, 
the consummation of his glorious reign. The flock of Christ has been 
and still is " a little flock." It has sometimes been reduced so low, 
that men of strong faith have faltered. " The man of sin," and " the 
false prophet," have, according to the prophecy, " worn out the saints 
of the Most High ;" and distant spectators have cried, " Help, Lord ; 
for the godly man ceaseth ; for the faithful are minished from the sons; 
of men." But now a very different scene presents itself. There was 
an immortal root in the earth, which, close as it might be cut by the 
axe of persecution, and strewed as the ground was by the goodly stems 
and branches which that axe had lopped off, no power of man or devils 
could destroy ; and it has shot forth, and spread its branches, so that 
" the hills are covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof 
are like the goodly cedars. She hath sent out her boughs unto the sea, 
and her branches unto the river." The seed was trampled down, but 
not destroyed ; and it springs up, men know not how ; and its thirty, 
sixty, and a hundred-fold harvests are dispersing it through the earth. 
The vapour is silently ascending, by an operation unknown to man, and 
which no human power can stay ; and the dew is forming, and will 
spread itself over the earth. There shall be one heavenly King in the 
earth, and his name one ; and then shall the allegiance of men to their 
" gods many and lords many" be transferred to its rightful Lord. There 
shall be " one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one God the Father of all ;" 
and " one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who 
gave himself a ransom for all." Then all the worship of saints and 
demons shall be abrogated ; all the misleading systems of error pass 


away ; all opposing authority bow down ; " destroyed by the breath of 
his mouth," — the preaching of the holy, everlasting Gospel, the word 
which liveth and abideth for ever, — and by the brightness df his com- 
ing ; the glorious universal demonstration and overwhelming manifesta- 
tion of Christ, in the clear and signally authenticated revelation of the 
word of his truth. , 

The second view is that of universal moral beauty, — the beauty of 
holiness, diffused as wide as the dew of his youth from the womb of 
the morning. The eye cannot look upon a scene more exquisite in 
beauty than the opening of such a morning as is here presented to the 
imagination ; every hill and vale, every spire of grass, and the spray 
of every tree, sparkling in the ray of the advancing sun, and breathing 
life and freshness over all nature. Thus decked and adorned does a 
second world appear, in the beauty and freshness of holiness, to the eye 
of the prophet ; and thus does he represent it to us. Behold, then, a 
world, so long in the darkness and death of night, arising out of it by 
the wondrous operation of its reconciled and redeeming Lord. How dif- 
fusive and how marked will be the beauty of holiness, when his work 
is thus complete ! The beauty is every where, on every spire of grass, 
and every lofty tree ; on the lowest and highest orders of society. All 
are invested with the garments of salvation, and the robes of praise. — 
It beams upon the cottage, and shows that the poor are visited by 
Heaven. It sparkles from the throne, and gives it a lustre more glori- 
ous than its earthly pomp, — the mild and beauteous lustre of mercy, 
righteousness, and truth. It gives beauty to unsightly objects ; to show 
us that holiness dignifies the mean, and sanctifies the common and un- 
clean. It adds the beauty of a higher element to that which has an 
earthly excellence ; to teach us that whatever is worthy and useful is 
rendered so in a far higher sense, when it is connected with religion. 
It hallows affliction, gives awe to justice, and tenderness to mercy. 

Behold this beauty of holiness among the nations. Wars, oppres- 
sions, injuries, cease. The earth, tossed and swept for ages by the 
storms of night, is quiet, imbibes the vivifying dew of Divine influence, 
and catches the glory of the brightening truth of revelation. Behold it 
in civil society ; in the beautiful order and harmony of pious families ; 
in the charity and kind offices of Christian neighbourhoods ; in the 
reciprocal reverence and confidence of rulers and their subjects. 

Behold it especially in the Church. There, indeed, it is eminently 
appropriate ; for, " holiness becometh thine house, Lord, for ever." 
It is seen in her ministry ; for " her priests are clothed with salvation," 
and their " lips keep knowledge :" in her doctrine ; for the compass, 
the. depth, the height, the harmony, of the whole system of the Gospel 
being understood and professed, errors and partial views are banished : 
in her members ; those are truly elect according to the foreknowledge 
of God, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. The 
grace of God is seen in the beautiful simplicity of inquirers ; and in the 
manly vigour of zeal and action in the mature Christian ; the lovely 
dignity of wisdom and gravity and tried example in the aged, already 
half within the veil, and catching rays of glorification itself. It is seen 
in her assemblies : behold the beauty of the Lord in his sanctuary ; the 
land and the city still on her Sabbaths, save when the sound of praise 
from assembled worshippers rolls along the echoing streets ; the mute 


attention, the decent reverence, the joy repressed by awe, the thrill of 
exquisite feeling, the sighing of the contrite, the tears of Peter, the 
entranced affection of Mary, and the joys of salvation. 

And why should we behold this dew, spread upon the nations, civil 
society, and the Churches, and not upon material nature 1 Something 
of this the prophets all anticipate. Trees wave with gladness, the 
floods clap their hands, the valleys laugh. Even the luminaries of 
heaven shine with increased lustre. *' The light of the moon shall be 
as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as 
the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach 
of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound," Isaiah xxx, 26. 
True,, this is all figurative ; but what means it ? The inanimate parts 
of creation are insensible ; but then man, who was made to behold 
them, shall see them under new aspects, and with loftiest and tender 
associations. To the eye of redeemed man, even they shall partake 
of the general beauty. The heavens shall declare his glory, and every 
object lead to him. They shall convey instruction, and open pleasures 
new and in infinite variety. The whole earth shall be full of his 

What do we learn from this entire subject? 

1 . That, if we are his people in truth, we shall be interested in the 
establishment of Christ's kingdom. 

2. That our service in this respect will be most free and willing. 

3. We may learn, under present or future discouragements, to 
comfort ourselves with these hopes, these prospects. Mysteries in 
the affairs of the mediatorial kingdom of Christ there have been, and 
will be. We are to walk by faith. That in missionary objects is the 
substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. 
It is enough that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken, and assured us 
of ultimate success. His power is unlimited ; and his word cannot 
fail, even though heaven and earth should pass away. 

By a most mysterious operation is the dew formed ; and by means 
inexplicable to us will the kingdom of Christ be made universal. The 
dew is formed in the darkness and silence of the night ; and when the 
sun throws around his newly-darted rays, the work, the mysterious 
work, is made visible. Thus, although the night of the world has not 
passed away, let us be comforted. A noiseless operation is at work ; 
and in the darkness of past and present dispensations the great result 
is preparing. It shall be seen when the light of the world arises, and 
shines on every land. Yes ; it shall then be seen that he has been 
steadily pursuing his purpose to save the world ; that he has been 
making the very wrath of man to praise him, and overruling all things, 
good and evil, resisting or yielding, the rage of devils and the songs 
of saints, the power of persecutors and the fall of martyrs, the subtleties 
of infidelity, the bellowings of blasphemers, and the humble prayers 
and services of his willing people, to set up, in the fulness of time, 
and in the best manner, the kingdom of his grace over all mankind. 
" Blessed," then, thrice blessed, " be the Lord God, the God of 
Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious 
name for ever : and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. 
Amen, and Amen." 


Sermon XV. — Christianity the Wisdom of God in a Mystery. 

" But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, 
which God ordained before the world unto our glory," 1 Cor. ii, 7. 

The commission of the apostles was, to preach every where, and 
to preach publicly. Christianity did not, therefore, steal pi ivately into 
the world. Like the light of heaven, it burst upon all ranks of men ; 
and if the majority " loved darkness rather than light," by some of all 
ranks it was hailed as " the wisdom of God, and the power of God." 

Accordingly, we find in the Church of Corinth, not only the poor 
whom God had chosen " rich in faith," but others, who, from their 
acquaintance with the literature of their country, and the refinement 
of their taste, appear to have been of considerable rank in society. 

These persons do not, however, appear to have been the best mem- 
bers of this primitive Church ; for it was chiefly among them that false 
and seductive teachers succeeded in forming a party opposed to the 
great apostle of the Gentiles, of whose influence he complains, in the 
epistles addressed to them, with all the feeling of an injured and wounded 

From several passages in these epistles, the members of this faction 
appear to have made objections both to the manner and to the subjects 
of St. Paul's preaching ; considering Christianity, perhaps, too much 
as a refined and purer system of philosophy. The preaching of the 
apostle appeared to them too simple an enunciation of the facts and 
doctrines of their faith ; and deficient probably in reasons and illustra- 
tions: nor was his elocution sufficiently studied and adorned. The 
manner of the schools was not sufficiently regarded in the mode of 
discussion, nor the prevalent nicety of taste regarded in the style. 

And this was true. He had received a plain, solemn message to 
deliver to the world ; and he thought it far below a case which involved 
the eternal interests of men, to reason, when he was appointed, by 
Divine authority, to announce ; or to use any other language, or adopt 
any other acts of persuasion, than those which a heart filled and warm 
with his subject teaches to the lips of a man who feels the responsi- 
bility of his office, and the value of the immortal souls he is com- 
missioned to attempt to save. He was doubtless 

" Plain in speech, and plain in manner, 
As best became a minister of grace 
To guilty men." 

But for this simplicity he had reasons of greatest weight. It was in 
him choice, not necessity ; for he also could have philosophized, and 
was not ignorant of the popular artifices of rhetoric. So far, there- 
fore, was he from sinking under these attacks of his enemies, he hurls 
back the weapon upon them, and converts the objection into an instru- 
ment of irresistible attack upon that very philosophy which they would 
have intermingled with Christianity, under the pretence of rendering 
it more acceptable to men of taste and intellectual cultivation. He 
tries the case by a rule infallible in such matters, the rule of conse- 



quences. " The world by" this boasted " wisdom knew not God :*' 
here was one fact. " It pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, 
to save them that believe:" here was another. He intimates also, 
that success in winning over men to believe in Christianity, by the 
process which those Corinthians employed who had become " wiser 
than their teachers," would have been a very unsatisfactory triumph 
Their object was to please, his to convince and alarm ; things utterly 
incompatible. Their art was " to persuade" by those rhetorical artifices 
which unlock mysteriously the sources of feeling, fix attention, and 
gain assent ; his business was " to persuade men," as " knowing the 
terrors of the Lord," and "judging that if one died for all, then were 
all dead." Converts made by the charm of a new system, so displayed 
as to captivate the heart only through the imagination, would not in 
his view have been converts to Christ. On such conversions he could 
set no value ; and he refused the means by which they might possibly 
have been effected,^ — he rejected " enticing words of man's wisdom," 
that " the faith" of the Corinthians " might not stand in the wisdom of 
man, but in the power of God;" their own personal experience of the 
saving efficacy, and consequently of the Divine authority of the Gospel. 

What, then, was St. Paul disposed to concede that Christianity, in 
that simple and inartificial form in which he announced it, was either 
" foolish" or contemptible ? Just the contrary. No man ever knew 
how to estimate the grandeur and glory of this simple majesty of truth 
better than he ; and none has so boldly asserted its claims to supremacy 
It was not in him to shrink from its comparison with any thing that 
even Greece could exhibit as wise and just. Do these admirers of 
Gentile philosophy boast of wisdom ? — " we speak wisdom." Do they 
boast of the secrets of their celebrated mysteries ? — our religion is " a 
mystery :" but the wisdom which we speak is " the wisdom of God ;" 
and the mystery was " ordained before the world," formed in the depths 
of the Divine mind, before time began, and now revealed " to the glory" 
of all true believers. 

This is the connection of the text with the apostle's discourse ; but, 
although it arose out of a particular controversy, it contains general 
truth, the interest of which no time, no change of circumstances in 
the Church, can ever abate ; and to the three propositions which it 
contains I therefore direct your attention. 

I. Christianity is " the wisdom of God." 

Wisdom is knowledge in action ; knowledge directed to practical 
ends, through the most effectual means of accomplishing them. If 
this be a right view of wisdom, the moral systems of Greece ill de- 
served that appellation. They were highly imaginative ; they fed the 
appetite for speculation, but they led to no useful principles ; and they 
fell with no power upon the conscience or the conduct, except to mis- 
lead and pollute them. But in the Gospel another scene unfolds itself, 
— " the wisdom of God ;" infinite and infallible intelligence is displayed 
in efficient and wondrous arrangements to enlighten, save, and bless a 
fallen and guilty world. 

1. It affords infallible instruction in all necessary truth. 

In order to prove this it is not necessary to bring before you the 
principal truths which it has either for the first time brought to light, 
or cleared from the obscurity and distorting mists of the Gentile phi- 


losophy, — its revelations concerning God, and Christ, and man, and 
morals, and immortality. That which more especially illustrates the 
wisdom of this Divine system, as an effectual means of conveying 
demonstrated, and therefore satisfactory knowledge to man upon all 
these great subjects, is, that they are divinely revealed. AH true 
knowledge properly comes from God : even human art and science, and 
every discovery of this kind, were probably first suggested to the mind 
of man by God; but secretly, and without any mark of distinction at 
all from the thoughts of man's own heart, with which they were uncon- 
sciously intermingled : nor was any external sign given to intimate that 
they were in any sense " wisdom from above." It is easy to conceive 
that much of the truth which the Bible contains might thus have been 
secretly suggested, and have been brought before the world only as 
the results of the investigations of a few superior minds. Beyond 
their own rational evidence none of these truths, however, would have 
had, in this case, a greater than human authority. They would have 
been but matters of opinion still ; there would have been nothing tcr 
work instant conviction ; nothing to compel, by hopes or fears taken 
from responsibility to God and to a future judgment, the attention and 
assent of man. This was one of the disadvantages of the most en- 
lightened parts of the pagan world, that even what of the wisdom of 
God was remaining in it was not known to be from God. When they 
met with truth, they met also with error ; and both appeared to rest 
upon equal authority, and each was held with equal unsteadfastness 
and doubt. Not only truth was wanting, but truth in a revealed form ;• 
truth directly from God, sealed and authenticated by him, and that by 
an evidence easily comprehensible by all. " The wisdom of God" has 
supplied that grand desideratum. Its truths were revealed authorita- 
tively, and therefore convincingly. While human teachers remained 
in the outward court, darkly investigating what might be hidden within 
that veil which hung before them, the " Teacher sent from God" rent 
that veil with his own mighty arm, and He who dwelt between the 
cherubim " shone forth." While they were gazing upon every dark 
form of error which flitted before them like the clouds of night, he 
came forth, and cried, " I am the light of the world ; he that followeth 
me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life ;" and 
the credentials he bore were equal to this high declaration. The 
evidences of the divinity of the Gospel are as various as they are 
decisive. It is attested by the scattered fragments of truth in every 
land, and in every system ; it grounds itself upon the feelings and 
wants of universal human nature ; it brings its proofs from history, 
from prophecy, and from miracles ; and, above all, it enters the heart 
with " the demonstration of the Holy Ghost and power." Thus, not 
only is an ample volume of facts and doctrines expanded before us, 
but it bears the signature of Heaven ; the hand which unrolls it is 
Divine ; and the world is awed by the high and solemn proclamation, 
" Thus saith the Lord." 

2. Christianity is the wisdom of God, because it is a Divin« contrivance 
to administer pardon to the guilty. This is peculiar to the Gospel 
Two facts are indisputable,— that every man, by some indication or 
other, confesses himself to be a sinner ; and that, except on the great 
principle of the Gospel, faith in a divinely-appointed sacrifice, no one 


has ever found assured peace to his conscience. The question, "What 
must I do to be saved ?" has been sighed from every breast ; but from 
what, except from Christianity, has its answer been obtained ? The 
advocates of natural religion may take it to the temple of nature, and 
appear with that most serious inquiry before her oracle ; but through- 
out her ample dome no accent is heard to give hope of pardon to the 
guilty. The worshippers of idols in modern and in ancient times have 
cried aloud to their Baal, from morning until evening, but there has 
been " neither voice nor sound ;" and though they " cut themselves 
with knives/' and offer " the fruit of their body for the sin of their 
soul," they enforce no answer. The very forms under which they 
have represented their deities is the standing evidence of the feelings 
under which they are contemplated by their votaries ; for, though folly 
prompted their work, fear held the chisel and traced the fearful 

But, leaving the gods of gloom and despair, and supposing the most 
correct views of the moral perfections of God, we may confidently 
affirm, that the better God is known, the more hopeless must be the 
feelings of guilty man on the subject of the pardon of sins. Is he 
good ? The very thought that you have abused that goodness, gives 
you, if truly penitent, the keenest sense of sin. Is he pure ? Then in 
proportion to your sense of the intenseness of the holiness of his nature 
must be your consciousness that you are abhorrent to him, and offen- 
sive in his sight. Is he just 1 Then he guards his own laws, main- 
tains his righteous authority, exacts of every one what is right, and 
distributes equally " glory, honour, and peace to every one that doeth 
good, tribulation and anguish to every soul of man that doeth evil." 

What way, then, is left for escape ? Surely none ; and if any hope 
could be entertained, it would be so obviously a presumption resting 
on no assured ground, so dim and undefined, as to excite no comfort. 
But the wisdom of God here steps in and solves the difficulty, how 
God can be just, and yet justify sinners ; how he can uphold authority, 
and yet release the confessed criminal ; how he can maintain law, and 
not enforce it upon the offender. " A lamb is provided for a burnt 
offering," the Lamb of God. The incarnate Word becomes the piacu- 
lar victim, the justice is executed upon him, and the mercy exerted 
upon us. Thus, by virtue of that consideration exhibited by the suffer- 
ings of a Being of unbounded merit, God is just when he justifies, and 
the problem which nothing else could solve is explained. The justice 
of God, that very attribute which presented itself to every consciously 
guilty man under the most fearful aspect, which, like the sword of the 
cherubim, turned every way to guard the tree of life, is now propitiated 
to man, and loses its fiery glare in the softest radiance of free and con- 
descending mercy. Here the answer to the otherwise unanswerable 
question, " What shall I do to be saved V is full and explicit : Chris- 
tianity has opened the living way of faith in Christ crucified before 
the whole world of sinful men ; and the Church of Christ, as though 
to contrast her cheerful confidence with the dark despair or uncertain 
hopes of all the world of wise or unwise, Jew or Greek, barbarian or 
Scythian, inscribed in her most ancient creed, and proclaims, wherever 
she chants her solemn services, the joyous sentiment, " I believe in the 
forgiveness of sins." 


3. Christianity is the wisdom of God, because it is an efficient 
scheme for promoting personal and universal happiness. 

To say, that man is miserable, is to repeat a great but a most obvious 
truth. It cannot be otherwise. Between sin and misery there is a 
necessary connection, because that connection is established by the 
decree of God himself : " There is no peace, saith my God, to the 
wicked." A diseased state of the vital organs might as well be sup- 
posed to exist without producing pain, as sin without sorrow. All the 
irregular appetites of sense, all the malignant and irascible passions, 
destroy the peace of the soul, and create hostile elements in society, 
fatal to its peace. Nor can sin be committed without inducing punish- 
ments, varied in degree, and frequently mitigated by mercy, but yet 
widely diffused, weighty, and terrible. There is often " a lighting 
down of the arm" of God in judgment, which proves to all, that " he is 
wise in heart, and mighty in strength, and that none ever hardened 
himself against God and prospered." 

In this state of things, where is the cure for human wretchedness ? 
What system but this can make even a plausible pretence to give hap- 
piness to the world? Many experiments have indeed been tried in 
ancient and modern times, to build up happy and peaceful societies ; 
but all have failed. Arts, science, legislation, are held up, it is true, 
as having a natural tendency to mitigate the evils of society, and to 
increase the sum of social happiness. But ancient Babylon, Egypt, 
Greece, Rome, and modern China, are not destitute of these ; and yet 
it may be doubted whether a thousand of their inhabitants, taken pro- 
miscuously, were not even less happy than an equal number of Hot- 
tentots, or any other totally uncivilized people. In modern times, and 
in Christian nations, we indeed see these external advantages connect- 
ed with a milder, and, generally speaking, a happier state of society ; 
but then we see them operating in connection with those moralizing 
effects which, more or less, in all nations, accompany Christianity. 
If arts, if sciences, if legislation, could restrain or cure the vices of 
the heart of man, they would in themselves promote his happiness ; 
but since we see them not only disconnected in fact, but having no re- 
lation at all to man's internal moral state, and respecting his external 
condition only, the remedy for the miseries of the world cannot lie in 
them ; and Christianity is that remedy provided by the benevolence of 
God, only because it is sanctifying. Its wisdom, then, is illustrated 
by this, — that, as human vice is the true source of human misery, it 
effects our happiness by the destruction of our vices. Pardon of sin 
is one of its great blessings ; and yet, with all its value, but one. It is, 
indeed, one of its first and earliest ; it stands at the head of its gifts 
to man ; but it is placed there only to head and lead up a long and 
joyful train of principles and emotions which all flow from sanctity. 
Christianity would not have been " wisdom," had it not provided for 
man's happiness ; and it could only provide for it by effecting his re- 
generation. Had it surrounded him with the most favourable external 
condition, and changed every thing but the moral man, and restored 
paradise itself, the breath of a polluted heart would "have withered its 
bloom, and darkened its glory : if the whole earth had been at peace, 
a torn and distracted heart, a guilty and foreboding conscience, could 
have known no peace. 


But the true remedy is provided. " The kindness of God toward 
man has appeared," not " in word," but " in power." Ours is not a re- 
ligion of ordinances, but a religion of the heart ; it is not even a pal- 
liative, but a cure. It tracks the stream of human misery to its source 
in our fallen nature, and purines the fountain itself. Its sanative influ- 
ence follows the moral disease through every vein it has envenomed, 
neutralizes the poison, and restores the vigour of the moral constitution. 

Then the heart is at rest ; then vital union, the only true source of 
peace to the soul of man, between God and man is restored ; the cha- 
rities and kind affections, " the fruits of the Spirit," spring forth from 
the renewed soil ; then man lives to help and bless his fellows ; and, 
in that principle of universal benevolence which it implants in all who 
are brought under its influence, provision is made for diffusing happi- 
ness throughout the world. This may be counteracted ; it must have 
time and opportunity to develope itself; but the efficient remedy for the 
vice and misery of all nations lies there. The principle which no 
other religion has laid down, and which every other is too weak to en- 
force, even if it could have conceived it, — " No man liveth to himself," 
— will save the world. We see it already largely operating in chari- 
ties which respect the wants of the body, and the higher charities 
which respect the interests of the immortal mind. It is this which 
founds schools, upholds the public exercise of the ministry at home ; 
which translates the Holy Scriptures into the tongues of the whole 
earth, and spreads them before all nations ; which organizes the so- 
cieties that collect aid for missionary enterprises, and sends forth the 
messengers of the Churches to proclaim, in the seats of pagan dark- 
ness, the religion of light and mercy ; and it will carry the message of 
God's mercy to a fallen world far as the habitations of man are extend- 
ed, and peace and joy attend its steps. In every place it preaches 
" liberty to the captive ;" it " binds up the broken-hearted ;" it " com- 
forts them that mourn." It is the publication of " the acceptable year 
of the Lord ;" it is " peace on earth, and good will to men." 

II. The second proposition in the text is, that Christianity is " the 
wisdom of God in a mystery." 

The apostle here probably alludes to the celebrated mysteries of 
paganism. These are supposed to have originated in Egypt, and from 
thence were transmitted to the Greeks, and through them to the Ro- 
mans. They may be in few words explained. The pagan priesthood 
in many places pretended to be in possession of a higher and puref 
doctrine than that which they publicly taught, and which Avas popularly 
received. This they kept from the vulgar, under the plea that they 
were too base and impure to be entrusted with it. It was, therefore, 
to use the phrase of the text, " hidden wisdom." But to princes and 
some other distinguished and favoured persons it was occasionally 
communicated. The " initiated" had, however, to undergo severe pe- 
nances ; scenic symbolic representations in caverns, and in the night, 
were the means adopted for unfolding the secret ; and these, and other 
ceremonial circumstances, were employed, to inspire the greater awe, 
and to enforce that pledge of secrecy which confined the knowledge, 
whatever it might be, to the chosen few. 

What was thus taught, the learned are not agreed. Probably this 
secret doctrine contained a considerable portion of the ancient and 

Vol. I. 14 


purer theology ; and so the whole was in proof of the apostle's words, 
that " when they knew God, they glorified him not as God," This 
truth, however, it is likely, was even in the mysteries often mingled 
with fables, and veiled in allegory. Whatever of wisdom the myste- 
ries contained, the benefit was confined to few. They were, however, 
the subjects of great boasting among the wiser heathen ; and it is in 
reference to them that the apostle calls Christianity " the wisdom of 
God in a mystery." 

In thus designating the religion he taught, and yet at the same time ex- 
hibiting it in a contrast which claims superiority, he supposes in it some 
points both of resemblance and contrast with the mysteries of paganism. 

1. He supposes points of resemblance ; but even the resemblances 
are implied contrasts. They are such as that which exists between 
the sun and a common fire ; which at once calls our thoughts from 
what is common to both, to the contrast exhibited between the foul and 
darkened blaze of the one, and the pure and unsullied light of the other. 

Christianity was connected with a long series of symbolic, and, if 
you please, scenic representations, running through the previous ages 
of the patriarchal and Jewish history, of which sacred mysteries it was 
at once the accomplishment and the exposition. Typical personages, 
typical ceremonies, and typical things, kings, priests, temples, cities, 
mountains, sacrifices, and altars, passed in succession, and exhibited 
in parabolic action, or the language of emblem, its glory or its grace, 
the voluntary abasement or the official elevation and dominion, of its 
great Author. 

It retained some figurative rites of its own, as well as fulfilled those 
of former dispensations. Its baptism signifies the washing away of 
sin, and the renewal of the soul by the Holy Ghost. Its eucharist not 
only commemorates a fact, — the sacrificial death of Christ ; not only 
" shows forth his death until he come ;" but explains the purpose of that 
death, and the means by which it becomes beneficial to the soul, by 
that application of it to give life to the soul, and nourishment and 
strength to all holy principles, by the instrumentality of faith. Its 
Sabbath is the symbol of the rest from sin which follows upon the 
sanctifying influence of its truth, when fully exerted upon the soul ; 
and the still richer, deeper rest which remaineth for the people of God 
in the heavenly world. 

Christianity is a mystery, too, because in its true meaning, it is hid- 
den from the profane, and from all who prepare not themselves to re- 
ceive it by a previous discipline. But its discipline is not like theirs, 
— some foolish bodily austerity, or onerous ceremonies ; — it is the dis- 
cipline of humility and prayer. " The natural man discerneth not the 
things of the Spirit of God." They are " hidden from the wise and 
prudent, and revealed unto babes," — to persons of a docile spirit ; for 
" the secret of the Lord is only with them that fear him," and to them 
exclusively " he shows his covenant." 

And if it was a character of the ancient mysteries to produce deep 
impressions of awe and reverence upon those who were admitted to 
them, the parallel will still hold good. Without investigating the means 
by which these emotions were produced by the mysteries of paganism, 
we must allow them to be salutary feelings whenever associated with 
sacred subjects. Religion has an awful grandeur, but no where is i 


displayed so impressively as in the Gospel. Condescending as the 
religion of Christ is, it never descends from its own place, nor permits 
us to rise above ours. Plain as are its doctrines, as they relate to 
practice, and clear as are the terms in which they are stated, yet they 
often transcend both human and angelic intellect ; and become, as to 
their reasons, " hidden wisdom ;" and acquire, from their height and 
depth, the impressive solemnity of mysteries. Mysteries of majesty 
are in the perfections of the Deity, which it at once veils and unveils ; 
mysteries of condescension in the incarnation, mysteries of love in our 
Saviour's passion, and mysteries of inscrutable wisdom in his provi- 
dential government. The awe deepens as we gaze upon all these 
subjects, and as they disclose their heights and depths to the inquiring 
thought ; and it is rendered still more solemn as we approach the scenes 
of the final jugdment, and contemplate those results which shall fill 
eternity itself with ecstasy or horror. 

But if for these very partial resemblances to the celebrated mysteries 
of paganism, Christianity might be called " hidden wisdom," " the wis- 
dom of God in a mystery ;" it presents also, 

2. Points of interesting and direct contrast. The mysteries of 
paganism were, for the most part, mysteries by artifice ; the mysteries 
of Christianity are mysteries by nature and necessity. The bottom 
of this ocean is not discovered, not because the waters are muddy, but 
because they are deep. 

In the pagan mysteries truths, in their nature plain and comprehen- 
sible, were often hidden in doubtful enigmas ; in Christianity, nothing 
is mysterious but what is so by the appointment of Him who hides 
that from us which is unfit for us to know, or from the necessary mag- 
nitude of the objects, which often stretch infinitely beyond the field of 
our intellectual vision. The glorying of St. Paul was in his " plainness 
of speech ;" and he claims this for himself and his coadjutors, that they 
renounced " the hidden things of dishonesty," and, " by manifestation 
of the truth, commended themselves to every man's conscience in the 
sight of God." 

The impression produced upon the initiated was the result greatly 
of trick and artifice ; and the quality, so to speak, of that awe produced 
by the pagan mysteries, entirely diverse from that which is inspired by 
" the deep things of God." Through the senses and imagination 
paganism has ever aimed at bringing the spirit of man into bondage ; 
and its darkness has ever been charged with horrors which have pros- 
trated the mind under the dominion of the most disquieting superstitions. 
But " the mysteries of godliness" at once humble and exalt ; and while 
they inspire fear, elevate, strengthen, and sanctify. Abraham feels 
that he is but dust and ashes in the presence of Jehovah ; and yet is 
emboldened " to speak unto God," and present his requests. Moses 
" exceedingly fears and quakes ;" and yet puts up the boldest prayer 
that ever escaped human lips : " Lord, I beseech thee show me thy 
glory." John falls at the feet of his glorified Saviour as " one dead ;" 
but the resplendent Being before whose majesty he faints lays his 
right hand upon him, and says unto him, " Fear not, I am the First and 
the Last." 

But the grand point of opposition is, that the mysteries of paganism, 
whatever wisdom was " hidden" in them, were for the few ; those of 


Christianity, for all. " To make all men see, what is the fellowship 
of the mystery." 

From the former, the poor were systematically excluded. To be 
poor was to be profane ; and, " Hence, ye profane !" was the harsh 
sound which drove the vulgar herd from the very entrances of their 
places of exclusive sanctity. No false religion, no corrupt form of 
true religion, has ever welcomed the poor to a common participation 
of its supposed benefits. The poor find mercy no where but in the 
Gospel. This will explain the words of Christ : " Go and tell John 
what things ye have seen and heard ; how that the blind see, the lame 
walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and 
the poor have the Gospel' preached to them." The last appears a 
strange evidence of a Divine commission ; nor could it have been urged 
as such an evidence, unless to care for the soul had been as rare 
and wonderful as to heal the sick by miracle and to raise the dead. It 
was so in fact. The Jewish teachers contemned the poor and the outcast ; 
they made it a matter of sarcastic reproach that our Lord ate with pub- 
licans and sinners, and that they who followed him were in humble 
circumstances ; and contemptuously asked, " Have any of the rulers 
believed on him ?" " The people," said the Pharisees, " know not the 
law, and are accursed ;" and thus they despised those whom they ought 
to have pitied, with as much unfeelingness and pride, as the Gentile 
philosopher, the mass of the vulgar. Well then may we accept it as 
a proof that the mission of our Lord was from God, from him who 
" accepteth no man's person," from him who " fashioneth all men alike," 
and who is "loving to every man," — that he preached the Gospel 
to the poor. He came " to seek and to save that which was lost ;" and 
when misery and danger were the most pressing, his mercy appeared 
to flow with greatest liberality. 

And here one cannot but remark the perfect accordance which exists 
between the proud spirit of infidel philosophy, and that which cha- 
racterized the ancient paganism and the corrupted religion of the Jews. 
Voltaire, in one of his letters to the infidel Frederic of Prussia, ex- 
claims, " Give us the princes and the philosophers, and we freely leave 
the lower class to the fishermen and tent makers." Thank God there 
have ever been .fishermen and tent makers, sufficiently inspired with the 
spirit of their Master to take the legacy. Wherever true Christianity 
is known and has influence, there the poor have still the Gospel preached 
to them; man's common origin from "one blood" is acknowledged, 
and the equal share of all in the virtue of a common redemption. 

III. The third proposition in the text is, that this "wisdom of God 
in a mystery" was " ordained before the world to glory." 

In this clause there are several points of interest. 

1. Christianity was ordained, prepared, or appointed, "before the 

We hear sometimes of its invention by man, and of many things 
appended to it : by human authority we acknowledge that things in- 
vented have been added. But these are no parts of the system itself; 
and we may ask, When was that invented? And what human mind 
first devised its leading fundamental principles ? — that man is a fallen, 
guilty, helpless being, who can be saved only through the merits of a 
divinely appointed, and a Divine sacrifice for sin, and restored to purity 


and peace only by that power of God by which he was at first created. 
These are its chief doctrines ; and when shall we fix their discovery ? 
Near eighteen centuries ago we find them "in the sermons of Christ 
and the writings of his apostles. Ages before that, the prophets held 
out to fallen, guilty men, as the subject of their loftiest anticipations 
and most impressive visions, the appearance of Messiah, to be " cut 
off, but not for himself;" to be wounded for our transgressions, and 
then to enter upon his grand appointment as the Mediator between God 
and man, in order to reconcile the world to its offended Sovereign. — 
Shall we ascend higher, to the transactions of Mount Sinai ? There a 
guilty race, conscious of transgression, trembled before the awful Ma- 
jesty it had offended ; and there an institution was, by Divine autho- 
rity, appointed, founded on the same principle as that which distinguishes 
Christianity, — " Without shedding of blood there is no remission." Go 
beyond the flood ; and the antediluvian sacrifices teach the same doc- 
trine. And, finally, fix your attention on the pair in paradise, standing 
convicted and trembling before their Judge : they were the first who 
needed pardon ; but did they devise the means of obtaining it ? Was 
it for the guilty to prescribe to their offended God the terms on which 
he should admit them again to favour ? That, indeed, it were absurd 
to allow ; and if so, those means were the result of his own wisdom 
and mercy ; the whole scheme of the redemption of the fallen and 
guilty race sprung from the bosom of his compassion, and shot forth 
the first mild ray which broke upon the darkness of man's sad condition, 
in that great promise which formed the steadfast ground of the hope of 
the first ages, " I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed ; it 
shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." 

2. It was " ordained before the world," as a perfect and efficient plan 
for human recovery, and was thus prepared in all its parts, nothing 
being wanting, to meet the necessity of the case of man's lapse into 
guilt and danger, at the moment it should arise. 

That was a critical moment when man first sinned. But for such a 
preordained system of mercy all had then been lost, and the first step 
of man out of a state of innocence would have landed him in irretrieva- 
ble ruin. When the hand of the offender was upon the prohibited tree, 
and a human creature first violated the authority of the Divine command, 
" earth," — says the poet of paradise, — 

" Earth felt the wound, and nature from her seat, 
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of wo, 
That all was lost." 

This is poetry ; but it would have been fact, if this scheme of wisdom 
and love united had not been prepared. Nature must have sunk to 
nothingness, man been hurled into the gulf where death itself ever 
lives, and his race have perished with him. Over the precipice he 
was indeed hurled by his aggravated offence ; but the compassion of 
his God, in the sovereign exercise of his grace, had anticipated the 
case ; mercy caught him in his fall, revealed that love which had sur- 
rendered the eternal Word to bear, " in the fulness of time," his sin 
" in his own body on the tree," and bade him believe and live. For 
us too the same mercy, in every principle on which it is founded, and 
in every application for which it is needed, stands "ordained" or pre- 


pared. We have no need to ask, under the pressure of guilt, " Where- 
with shall I come before the Lord V The ransom is paid down ; and 
we have only to claim the actual redemption : the propitiation is offered, 
accepted, and exhibited ; and we have only to " behold the Lamb of 
God," — to believe and be saved. 

3. It was ordained before the world " to our glory," for the moral 
advancement of the human race. 

It finds us in degradation and shame ; no words can paint our moral 
wretchedness, till the Gospel comes in to our help. It finds us wholly 
ignorant, or walking by the insufficient light of human science, too dim 
to direct our steps, — a faint meteor-like coruscation, which leaves the 
surrounding gloom unbroken : it brings us to the feet of Him " who 
spake as never man spake ;" of Him who has so truly said, " I am the 
light of the world ; if any man follow me, he shall not walk in darkness, 
but have the light of life." It finds us subject to the shameful bondage 
of sense and passion ; and it sets us upon the honourable throne of 
self government and moral dominion. It finds the powers of an im- 
mortal mind possessed and polluted by the evil spirit which worketh in 
the children of disobedience : it expels the unholy usurper, and gives 
back the spirit to the healing and hallowing influence of God. It invests 
us with the privileges of " sons of God," gives us access to his throne 
of grace, and confers a covenant right both to pray and to be heard by 
him ; it brings us under his eye, his hand, his wing, his care, his 
jealousy, his love, his vindication. It gives even our mortal dust an 
interest in the great redemption ; for even that shall be raised again at 
the last day ; and on that day the glory which it has ordained for man 
shall be completed, for publicly shall the Church be acknowledged, 
publicly presented to the Father, and publicly received, crowned with 
»' glory, honour, and immortality." 

But it is time that we make a practical application of the whole. 

Is this wisdom of God the subject of your daily investigation ? 

Sermon XVI. — The Building of the Temple. 

" But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so 
willingly after this sort ? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we 
given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our 
fathers : our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O 
Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee a house for thine 
holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, 
that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the 
uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things : and now have 
I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. 
O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the 
imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare (or establish) 
their heart unto thee," 1 Chronicles xxix, 14-18. 

One of the most interesting acts of ancient national piety is the 
erection of that splendid temple at Jerusalem, which is usually called 
the temple of Solomon ; but for which David, as appears from this 


chapter, made large preparations. David projected it, set his heart 
upon it, gave liberally himself toward its erection, and by his influence 
engaged every Israelite to be a cheerful contributor. 

But it is not only as a place for national worship that this edifice merits 
notice. It had two other purposes worthy of that best age of the Jewish 
history, and of its illustrious founders. It was to exhibit, on a largei 
and grander scale than the tabernacle, those glorious types and scenic 
representations of " good things to come," which were to keep up the 
expectation of the perfect evangelic dispensation, till the Lord of the 
temple himself should come, and lead the way into the holy places not 
made with hands. It was also erected to invite, by its very name and 
glory, the people of all surrounding nations to come and worship the 
true God. It had its magnificent court of the Gentiles, and it was 
called " a house of prayer for all people." 

The temple was also one of the most illustrious types. It was a 
type of Christ himself. " Destroy this temple," said he, referring to 
his body, " and in three days I will build it up again." He was the 
true mercy seat, the true glory, the ample refuge of both Jew and Gen- 
tile who fly to God for pardon and acceptance. But it was eminently 
the type of his Church ; that house of prayer for all people ; that con- 
secrated residence of God upon earth ; that city set upon a hill, to be 
conspicuous ; that Zion whence the Lord commands his blessing, even 
life for evermore. Of this fact the prophets are full ; and it supplied 
their favourite figure. " And it shall come to pass in the last days, 
that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top 
of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills ; and all nations 
shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and 
let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of 
Jacob ; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his 
paths : for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord 
from Jerusalem," Isaiah ii, 2, 3. St. Paul expresses himself in a 
similar manner where he says, " Now therefore ye are no more strangers 
and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household 
of God ; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, 
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ; in whom all the 
building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord : 
in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through 
the Spirit," Ephesians ii, 19-22. 

You will see, then, the connection between the text and the occasion 
which has assembled us. If I see in the preparations for building the 
temple a resemblance to the efforts of the present day. to build the 
universal Church of God, and to spread her consecrated shade over all 
nations, I am indulging in no fancy. The one was the type of the 
other. The Holy Spirit himself has established the analogy ; and the 
important principles laid down by David in the text, as applicable to 
the work immediately before him, are for this reason, as well as from 
their general nature, most instructive and admonitory to us. I call your 
attention, then, 

I. To the' hallowed and interesting work in which we are engaged ; 
to build the temple, the Church of God, the house of prayer for all 

1. The great object of the building which the piety of David pro- 


jected is expressed generally, and in a most emphatic manner, in the 
text. It was to be a house for the holy name of God. This is the 
precise office of the Christian Church. From the beginning it has 
been so ; and wherever it extends, there it is " a house for thine holy 

The Church proclaims that name as the only name of Divinity. — . 
"There are gods many, and lords many, to you," is its language in all 
pagan lands ; " but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are 
all things, and we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all 
things, and we by him," 1 Cor. viii, 5, 6. " The gods of the heathen 
are vanity, but the Lord made the heaven." 

The Church exalts the name of God above all the supposed deities 
of men. It is indeed a name above every name that is named ; for 
the very attributes of God fill the mind with thoughts which never 
entered into a heathen at all, or, at the best, very partially and obscurely : 
such as eternity ; while their deities had birth and beginning ; — self 
existence ; while theirs were supposed to be from fate, or some other 
cause ; — almighty ; so as to make all things out of nothing ; of which 
they had no conception ; — omnipresence ; while the gods of the heathen 
are circumscribed ; — -unchangeableness ; while they were the sport of 
passion and caprice. There are also his moral perfections ; and these 
are displayed in their glory wherever the Church proclaims his name : 
" The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, abundant 
in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin." 

And it is a holy name which is so proclaimed and. exalted. Of the 
polluted and polluting idols of the heathen, well might David say, 
" Their drink offerings of blood will I not offer ; nor take their name 
upon my lips." But God is glorious in holiness ; his name is holy ; 
his worship, his law, his Church, his heaven, are holy ; and without 
holiness no man shall see him. Thus it is by the Church now, as by 
the temple of old, that the holy name of God is published, the beauty 
of holiness exhibited, and holiness enforced upon men. 

2. The temple was the place of authorized and accepted sacrifice. 

Our Lord determined that in his discourse with the woman of 
Samaria : " Salvation is of the Jews." Such is the Church now. Its 
blood is the blood of Christ ; its Priest is the High Priest of our pro- 
fession ; the way to its holiest of all has been opened by him. There 
is the true mercy seat ; there the glory ; the ministration of justifica- 
tion exceeding in glory the ministration of death. Was it an interest- 
ing work to set up only the types of all these ? So much so, that David 
prepared " all this store ;" and the people offered willingly ; and all 
Israel caught the hallowed ardour. But how much more interesting is 
it to exhibit the reality of all this ! And this you do by building the 
Church of God in heathen lands. Wherever the Church is, Jesus is 
preached ; and he is the seed of the woman that was to bruise the 
serpent's head ; the desire of all nations, the hope of Israel, the light 
of the Gentiles, the Lamb of God, led to the slaughter, and wounded 
for our transgressions ; whose blood has made the universal atonement, 
and purchased pardon to be freely given, and grace to be abundantly 
administered, to men of every nation under heaven ; to the Jew and to 
the Gentile, to the best and worst of mankind, for there is no difference. 
What glad tidings of great joy are here, which shall be to all people ! 


3. The temple was the place of united worship, and of united 

It is indeed most interesting to observe, that while the Jewish 
covenant lasted, which made an outward and civil distinction between 
the seed of Abraham and the Gentiles, there was nevertheless an ap- 
proach to that unity which was more perfectly to take place under the 
Gospel. If a middle wall of partition was still standing, they were at 
least under one roof ; and that roof the shadow of the temple of the 
same God. They were instructed in the same law, they had access 
to the same God in prayer, and they received the same answers to 
prayer, according to the inspired supplication of Solomon at the dedi- 
cation : " Moreover, concerning the stranger, which is not of thy peo- 
ple Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, 
and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched-out arm ; if they come and 
pray in this house, then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy 
dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee 
for ; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as 
doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have 
built is called by thy name," 2 Chron. vi, 32, 33. And that the pious 
Gentile received as large a share of spiritual blessings as did the Jew, 
is clear from the Roman centurion, of whom Jesus testified, that he 
" had not found so great faith, no not in Israel." Such is the spiritual 
temple, the Church of Christ. It places all men on a spiritual equality, 
and offers to all the same blessing. What wretched distinctions has 
the pride of man's heart made between nation and nation, between rank 
and rank, between the castes of India, and the negro of the West Indies 
and his master, between white and black ! But they are all dissipated 
by Christianity. " Come in," says this benevolent religion, to every 
poor, oppressed, despised creature under heaven ; nay, what is more, 
to every penitent sinner, standing afar off, and not daring to draw near ; 
" Come in, thou blessed of the Lord ; why standest thou without ? Here 
is a common Saviour, and a common salvation !" 

4. It was the place of actual communion between God and man. 
That temple was not a void and vacant one. In an eminent sense, 

God was there. All who went to worship drew near to God ; and 
through the high priest they had communion with God. There was 
nothing like this in the whole world beside. You might travel through 
Egypt, and Babylon, and the other great and mighty nations of the 
earth ; but you could find no other place where men had such access 
to God. There God dwelt ; and there he conversed with man. Do 
you not see in this splendid type the glorious office of the Christian 
Church ; to put a place in every land where God will converse with man ? 
Where else does God commune with men ? Where beside has he fixed 
his throne of mercy 1 Where else does he bestow pardons, receive 
prayers, and distribute spiritual blessings ? Not, certainly, in those foul 
temples of idolatry to which thousands of benighted pagans resort. — 
They are temples of devils. Not in Jewish synagogues ; for there is 
neither sacrifice nor mercy seat. Not in Mohammedan mosques ; for 
can the holy God ally himself to the impurities and falsehoods of the 
prophet of imposture ? It is in Zion, then, that God is known ; and in 
her palaces only is he known for a refuge. On the one hand, how 
gloomy is the scene ! Track the fairest, amplest countries of our world ; 


and there is not a place where God holds communion with man, and 
man with God ! All is void of God, and filled with evil and misery. — ■ 
On the other hand, there is in a few places of the earth his Church ; 
and there God is. All who seek him there find him in grace, mercy, 
and peace. What do we, then, in enlarging this Church ? We fill this 
awful void in our world with God. We set up his throne ; and he 
deigns to sit upon it. We bring God down to man ; and show to man 
the way to God. A blessed service this, to strengthen the stakes, and 
lengthen the cords, of the Zion in which God will rest for ever ; and 
where he speaks in mercy to his creatures, and permits their access to 
him at all times and in every thing that concerns them ! 

Suc'i is our work ; and one more noble and benevolent cannot be 
conceived. Let us consider, 

II. The sentiments of deep abasement with which the circumstance 
of being permitted to take a part in it impressed the mind of the vene- 
rable monarch who had made such large preparations for its completion. 
" Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer 
so willingly after this sort ?" 

From this language we learn, that the very honour of being employed 
in n work of God ought to be deeply abasing to man. This is an 
important consideration. The work of God is too sacred for human 
boasting. The vanity of that mean passion harmonizes not with it ; 
and it is all in mercy to us that God so employs man, that no flesh 
may glory in his presence. 

With reference to that work in which we are permitted to take a 
part, and of which the building of the temple was the type, there are 
three views suggested by these questions, which may well humble us. 
" What am I, and what is my people ?" 

1 . What are we with reference to our former selves ? We are not 
"just men, who need no repentance." We are not a race of beings 
who, like the angels, have kept their first estate, and to whom it would 
be congruous to be ministers of the Divine bounty, presenting unstained 
channels through which the grace of God might flow to a guilty world. 
No : we are, at best, but pardoned criminals ; and have a long and sad 
retrospect of ingratitude and disobedience. " What is my people V 
That question would call up the remembrance of all their gainsaying, 
and grieving of the Holy One of Israel ; the humbling history of the 
wilderness, and of subsequent years. And " what am I ?" Could that 
question be put by David without calling to mind the wreck of his 
early piety when a shepherd, making the wilderness resound with his 
harp and sacred songs, by the corrupting manners of a court ? Thought 
he not of the matter of Uriah 1 Deeply repented of, and graciously 
forgiven, it is true ; but not surely forgotten. And we may each ask, 
" Who am I ?" Every heart will give the answer ; but the recollection 
of sins committed, and mercies unimproved, and grievings of the Spirit, 
and unworthy returns for abounding grace, will create in us all, if we 
are rightly affected, a deep admiration of our present position. We, 
even we, are the redeemed of the Lord ; his people, his Church ; and 
even we, being converted, are bidden to strengthen our brethren. 

2. What are we, in reference to our associates in this work ? To 
be associated in any pursuit with the great and distinguished of the 
world, ourselves being little and unknown, might produce that humbling 


surprise, expressed in the exclamation, " What am I ?" But we put 
aside all that the world calls great and illustrious ; we chase away the 
phantoms of earthly creation, elevated beyond all proportion by the 
delusive refractions of an earthly atmosphere ; and for false greatness, 
give you that which is true. 

Think, in the work of building and extending the Church of God, 
of the thousands of the pious into whose fellowship you come ; the 
hallowed band overlooked by the world, but dear to Christ. What 
tears do they this moment shed over human misery ; what sacrifices 
are they making, even in poverty, for this blessed cause ; what delight- 
ful emotions of hope swell their benevolent bosoms, while they anticipate 
the joyous days and brighter scenes of the Redeemer's dominion ! 
What fervent prayers, " Come, Lord Jesus, and come quickly," call 
him from the skies ! " Who, then, am I," that I join this chosen race ; 
that I have communion with them ; that I am allowed to deepen their 
sympathy, to partake their hope, to weep with them that weep, and to 
rejoice with them that rejoice, in such a cause, and for such results ? 
Venerable men, pale with those studies the fruit of which was the 
transfusion of the word of God into the modern tongues of men ; rest- 
less evangelists of a former age, by whose preaching Christendom was 
filled with the sound of salvation ; imprisoned confessors, bound that 
the word of God might not be bound ; martyrs, smiling in tortures, who 
died that this truth might live, and give life to the world ; am I asso- 
ciated with you ? " What am I ? and what is my people ?" 

Fathers of the Christian Church ! names never to be blotted from 
her records, who attached yourselves to your Master's cause when a 
vain philosophy would have torn from his brow the diadem of his 
Divinity, and counted that precious blood which was shed for many for 
the remission of sins as a common thing ; — apostles ! especially Paul 
the aged, in labours more abundant, in painfulness, in watchings, in 
stripes, in bonds, in deaths oft, to make all men see the fellowship of 
this mystery of love and salvation ; — prophets ! who all turned aside 
from falling empires, and the sublime sweeps of that judicial desolation 
of nations which marked your day, to see this great sight, and to be 
entranced with the glories of Messiah's future kingdom of grace and 
peace ; — angels, that excel in strength, to whose ken all the splendours 
of nature lie exposed ; who yet turn from heaven's most stupendous 
scenes to that to you more stupendous scene, God in Christ, recon- 
ciling the world unto himself; whose highest joy is when a sinner 
repenteth, and whose delightful employ it is to forward this work, whe- 
ther by leading an apostle from prison, personating " a man of Mace- 
donia," crying, " Come over, and help us," or ministering to the heirs 
of salvation, whether found in Africa, the Indies, or the pole ; who 
flutter over negro huts and Indian cottages ;— is it with you we have 
fellowship ? 

Above all, is it with thee, O Saviour, who, having once offered thy 
soul a sacrifice for sin, now seest thy seed, prolongest thy days, pros- 
perously fulfillest the pleasure of the Lord, hast thy portion with the 
great, and dividest the spoil with the strong ; do we go with thee into 
the wilderness to seek the lost 1 Do we share thy reproach ? Do we 
partake thy triumphs 1 " Lord, what are we, and what is our people ?" 
3. What are we with reference to our actual contributions to this 


work ? Let the text answer : " All things come of thee ; and of thine 
own have we given thee. All this store cometh of thine hand, and is 
all thine own." Thus is boasting excluded. What is it thou hast 
given, or hast prepared to give 1 Art thou rich ; and canst say, " All 
this store have we prepared to build a house for thy holy name ?" 
Remember it cometh of his hand, — his blessing upon your health, your 
labour, your ingenuity ; and is all his own. Are you poor ? It is of 
his hand that you are not the poorest, and of his mercy that, he accepts 
your humble offering. The law of Moses enjoined benevolence upon 
all the people. If they were not able to bring costly offerings, they 
were to present a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons. 

Is it time that you offer 1 It comes of his hand. That you live, is 
from him. Who was it, when the voice of a stern justice was heard 
saying, " Cut it down," that uttered that affectionately pleading inter- 
cession, " Spare it yet another year ?" Is it talents that you offer? 
All things come of God. You have influence from him, who gave 
you rank in society. Knowledge is from him, who teacheth wisdom ; 
for if there is a spirit in man, God breathed it ; and his inspiration 
giveth man understanding. Your eloquence in his cause is from him, 
according to the promise made to Moses, " I will be with thy mouth, 
and teach thee what thou shalt say," Exod. iv, 12. " Of thine own have 
we given thee." Nay, we may go farther. Do you offer life ? Such 
is the offering of the martyr, and often of the missionary. Yet let 
both the martyr and the missionary, the one in his fire, and the other 
in his fever, lay his hand upon his mouth, and say, " Of thine own have 
we given thee." That life -is a redeemed life ; the very terms on 
which, O thou suffering messenger of our Churches, thou becamest. a 
Christian, was, " Whether we live, we live unto the Lord ; or whether 
we die, we die unto the Lord." Boasting is excluded. Let no flesh 
glory in his presence. Say, after you have done all, — after you 
have given, and laboured, and died, — " We are but unprofitable 

III. The text supplies a consideration calculated powerfully to 
quicken our exertions in evSry department of the work of God, which 
may by his mercy be assigned to us : " We are strangers before thee, 
and sojourners, as were all our fathers. Our days on the earth are as 
a shadow ; and there is none abiding ;" or, as it is in the Hebrew, there 
is no " expectation." 

This is mournful ; but that is not the effect which it was designed to- 
produce. Man is not to grieve at the appointments of God ; and as- 
suredly those frequent representations of the vanity of life were not 
given to excite only a transient poetic sentimentality ; but to urge to 
immediate and rapid action. There is poetry in the Bible ; but take 
care of poetry in religion. If we are making haste to die, we should 
also make haste to live. This is the moral. 

This reflection on the uncertain and shadowy character of our ex- 
istence in this world, in the connection in which it stands in the text, 
reminds us, ' 

1. That what we do, we must do quickly. We are strangers, pass- 
ing through this world ; not belonging to it. We are sojourners ; 
travelling through, and setting up our tents, not our permanent dwellings. 
This is no accident, a case likely to be altered. We are sojourners 


and strangers, " as were all our fathers." It is the law of our fallen 
state, " Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return." 

" And our days are as a shadow ;" but the shadow, not the substance 
of being : or, as a vapour, dispersed by every breath of air ; always 
changing its form ; rapidly dissipated. We are strangers not long from 
home ; sojourners, who rapidly finish their journey ; wayfaring men, 
who turn aside to tarry but for a night ; and there is no " expectation," 
no " abiding." What thou doest, do quickly. Youth, your bloom 
begins to fade. Persons mature in age, your strength begins to tremble. 
Aged people, there is but a step between you and death. The temple 
may be built, and you have no share in the labour. Its foundations 
may be laid, and you give it no blessing ; and its top-stone may be 
brought forth, and you not join in the shouting. " This man," it may 
be said, in the hour of judgment, " never did any work for God !" 

We are reminded, 

2. That what we do for others must be done quickly. 

For. are we the only strangers and sojourners before God? Look 
at the crowds which pass you in your busy streets. Cast up the 
population of Europe ; plunge among the countless millions of India 
and China. They are all strangers and sojourners ; their days on earth 
are as a shadow, and there is no " expectation," no " delay." They 
are hastening onward ; and death and the grave are moving toward 
them. Under what affecting views does this consideration place our 
fellow men ; and especially those of them who are living, or rather 
dying, in the darkness of paganism ! They are indeed " strangers ;" 
but they know no better home. No word of reconciliation has opened 
to them a vista through the grave, and brought to light the distant 
immortality. They are sojourners too, and see the frailty of their 
tents ; and often shudder while they hear the rents of their canvass 
flapping in the midnight wind ; but no Redeemer has cheered them 
with the hope of a continuing city ; and said to them, " In my Father's 
house are many mansions." You are indeed strangers with a home in 
prospect ; they are strangers and sojourners without one. What a 
shadow to them is life ! With us, indeed, it may be somewhat sub- 
stantiated, by its connection with religion and eternity. To them its 
discipline is not referred to correction ; its changeful scenes carry no- 
moral lesson ; its afflictions, no humility ; its blessings, no hope. O 
pity your fellow sojourners in travel, without food, without the cheering 
impulse of a home, in depressing heartlessness, and painful anxiety ! 
Around your camp, as around that of the Israelites, the manna falls : 
invite them to it. The Rock has been smitten for you, and follows all 
your steps with its- pure stream. Call, shout to them, lest they perish, 
" Ho, every one ihat thirsteth, come ye to the waters !" Bid them- 
behold your pillar of fire by night, and cloud by day, and join your 
camp, that they may have the same blessed guidance. Show them 
your altars, the smoke of your atonement; bid them come up to your 
tabernacle ; and make them know that the desert of life itself may be 
cheered with songs, songs of salvation, even in the house of their- pil- 
grimage ; and that, although here they have no continuing .city, they 
may seek and find one to come. 

3. But there is still another and equally impressive consideration 
connected with this reflection upon the brevity and insecurity of human 


life. It is, that, short and uncertain as life is, within its narrow space 
works of infinite importance may nevertheless be done ; works which 
shall live when life itself shall die, and its vapour be for ever dissipated. 
" What am I," says David, " and what is my people, that we should 
build a house for thy holy name ? For we are strangers before thee, 
and sojourners :" intimating that even they who were so rapidly passing 
through a brief existence were yet permitted to do a work which in its 
effects should last for ever. 

No subject ought to impress us more than this. In one view, indeed, 
life is as a shadow ; in another, a solemn reality. Under one aspect it 
sinks into nothing in comparison with eternity, and ought to be held 
with a loose hand ; but in another, grasp it fast ! Seize every mo- 
ment ; for it is eternity itself in embryo ; and in its effects it never 

Apply this to your own personal conduct. In life we sow, in eter- 
nity we reap. " Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever 
a man soweth, that shall he also reap." " If we sow to the flesh," 
living sinfully and carelessly, in the spirit of the world, we shall reap 
" corruption." All shall fade and perish, and leave you eternally poor 
and wretched, without a foundation, a treasure, a home, a heaven, and 
a smiling God. But if we " sow to the Spirit ;" if penitence, if faith, 
if love, persevering holiness, be our practice ; we shall reap a peace- 
ful death, a glorious resurrection, a public acquittal at judgment, an 
immortality of bliss. You all sow ; you are sowing every moment. — 
Stop, busy sowers, and ask, " What am I doing ? What seed am I 
throwing in ? if to the flesh, corruption ; if to the Spirit, life ever- 
lasting ?" 

Apply this to your great work of building the temple of God in dis- 
tant lands. It is true, that you are strangers and sojourners ; but what 
is the work which God by his grace enables you to do ! Such were 
David and Solomon ; and yet they set up a house where myriads wor- 
shipped, and were trained up for heaven. Such were St. Paul and 
the first preachers ; yet they opened the living streams of salvation, 
which to this day make glad the city of our God. Such were our 
blessed reformers ; yet they gave a blow to the beast which never can 
be healed, and filled our land with a light which never can be darkened. 
Such were the earliest examples of missionary zeal in later ages. — 
Long have they departed ; the shadow is vanished ; the pilgrims have 
reached another land ; but the immortal work survives, and blesses 
millions. The same spirit, however, in various degrees, rests on you. 
Scatter your seed of evangelical truth in yon desert waste of Africa, 
and of India. God shall bless the springing thereof; he shall water 
its ridges, and settle its furrows, and make it soft with showers ; and 
when you are gone home to God, thousands shall return with gladness, 
bringing the sheaves of the harvest with them. O honour conferred 
on short-lived man, to. set up a house for Gqd in distant lands, which 
shall never be forsaken : where incense and a pure offering shall 
ascend to God while the sun and moon endure ; where sin shall be 
pardoned, the wretched comforted, and colony after colony shall be 
sent forth from earth to heaven, to meet you in that day when they 
shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and 
from the south, and sit down with you in the kingdom of God ! 


IV. In all works undertaken for God, we are taught by tig ,ex to 
be mindful of the principle from which they flow : " I know, my 
God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness." 

If at all times the eye of God is upon us, and he pondereth our goings, 
how much more may we expect him to require truth in the inward 
parts when we put forth our hands openly in his service, and proclaim 
our zeal for his glory, by the enlargement of his kingdom in the world ' 
God trieth the heart ; and happy is he who can, with David, appeal to 
God, and say, " In the uprightness of my heart I have -willingly offered 
all these things." To be upright, signifies, to be conformable to an 
existing rule or standard ; and, in a moral sense, to be conformable to 
the will or law of God. That law, with reference to the exercises of 
religious charity, has various parts ; and, taken together, they constitute 
uprightness. Let us briefly enumerate them. 

There is the law of sincere intention. To this we must conform. — 
If, when we eat or drink, we are to do all to his glory, much more, 
when we build his Church, are we to aim at his praise. 

The law of grateful return. To him how unspeakably are we in- 
debted ! Ours is the Church ; its altar, its sacrifice, its calm refuge 
from the cares and distractions of the world. I owe to God ; but to 
God I cannot pay. My righteousness extendeth not to him ; but he 
commands me to make the return to others. In this, then, to be upright, 
we must recognize our own obligations ; and regard our acts of service 
to men, not as favours we confer on them, but as grateful acknowledg- 
ments for what we have received from God. We claim not your ap- 
plause, ye wretched negroes, idolaters, and slaves of superstition, error, 
and sin ; " the love of Christ constraineth us ;" and for his sake we are 
debtors to Jew and Greek, " both to the wise and the unwise." 

The law of faithfulness. It is required of stewards, that they be 
found faithful. Such is our character. "We are stewards of manifold 
grace ; powers of doing good both at home and abroad ; to the bodie? 
and souls of men. God has made us channels of this grace ; and when 
he bids us distribute, uprightness demands that we do it instantly, and 
fulfil the intention of the Lord of all. 

The law of liberality. " Freely ye have received, freely give." As 
ye have received mercy, show mercy. The Lord " giveth liberally, 
and upbraideth not ;" " be ye followers of God as beloved children." 

The law of cheerful distribution. He that " showeth mercy" is to 
do it " with cheerfulness ;" " not grudgingly ; for the Lord loveth a 
cheerful giver." Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, 
and not unto men. To what a noble elevation is the Christian raised 
by the words, " Be perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is 
perfect ; for he maketh the sun to shine on the evil and the good, and 
sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust !" Christians, when ye are 
thus perfect, upright, you are as clouds of blessing, and the clear shin- 
ing of the sun after rain ; the sun shining on all ; and the cloud shaken 
by the wind, and pouring its copious and fertilizing showers upon the 
thirsty ground. 

The law of perseverance. " Be not weary in well doing ; for in due 
season ye shall reap, if ye faint not." • Set this law of uprightness be- 
fore you in all your doings, and in all your givings. 

V. Lastly, we have the joyous and benevolent feelings of the aged 


monarch, when he saw the people assembled so willingly to offer in 
so blessed a work : " And now have I seen with joy thy people, which 
are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O Lord God of Abra- 
ham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagi- 
nation of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart 
unto thee." 

Certainly this was a joyous sight ; one of the most joyous that earth 
has presented to the eye of piety : a whole people pressing with their 
willing and liberal offerings ; a nation assembled to do an act for the 
honour of the holy name of God, and echoing the pious and humble 
sentiments of their monarch, abased before the majesty of the Lord. — 
It was a scene for angels to behold ; and the more interesting, as a 
type of what they behold now, and what they will, ere long, behold on 
a larger scale, — the Church of God, the spiritual Israel, all united in 
one greater work, and all offering willingly to spread the shelter of 
God's spiritual house over all lands, and to set up a house of prayer for 
all people. 

This work is begun. Our crowds of willing offerers are the blessed 
pledges of the time when all Israel shall catch the sacred flame ; but, 
so far as it extends, may we not all take up the words, and share the 
emotions of David : " And now have I seen with joy thy people, which 
are present, offer willingly unto thee 1" 

It is a joyful sight, as a declaration of faith. Faith in God's word, 
as to the spiritual dangers of men ; faith in his laws, that he requires 
us to be diligent and profitable servants ; faith in his promises, that he 
will be with us, and second our work ; faith in prophecies, which de- 
clare the universal spread of true religion ; faith, which leaves sense 
to measure the length and breadth of difficulties, to stand aghast at dark 
and threatening clouds, to tremble at the rolling of papal or of pagan 
wrath, and darts into those sweet and peaceful scenes of light and 
blessedness beyond, and sees all the families of the earth blessed in 
Christ, and all nations calling him blessed. 

It is joyful, as a declaration of lofty and truly Christian benevolence. 
For Christian philanthropy is lofty, and it is boundless. It is peculiar, 
and distinct from every thing else which bears that name, and most 
nearly approaches it. It has a higher source, — " the love of God shed 
abroad in the heart, by the Holy Ghost given unto us." It contemplates 
man under a loftier aspect ; regarding not only his poverty, his diseases, 
his oppressions, but his soul's welfare, and his connection with eternity. 
It has an ampler rule, — the example of Christ : witness those wondrous 
words of St. John, " Because Christ laid down his life for us, we ought 
to lay down our lives for the brethren." So do martyrs, ministers, mis- 
sionaries, and all who shorten their days in promoting the spiritual in- 
terests of mankind. It more perfectly breaks down all the disgraceful 
bounds of prejudice. It regards not nation, colour, or condition ; it 
fixes on man as the creature of God, as the purchase of Christ, as a 
fellow in a common danger, as a sharer in a common salvation. 

It is a joyful sight, as it opens the gate of the most splendid and 
delightful hopes. What has been effected, and what is still effecting, 
by that small part of the Church which now presents itself before the 
Lord ! What light breaks upon the gloom of ages, and the gloom of 
millions ! What sweet and refreshing verdure springs up in the desert ! 


What sounds of praise fall upon our ears from negro huts and Indian 
cottages ; the hum of schools where heathen children read of Christ ; 
the happy families that have been created by Christian truth and re- 
newing grace ; the eye of age lighted up with celestial scenes ; the bed 
of death made soft with hope ! " Where ?" say you ? Wherever you 
have made the attempt. When all the Churches shall unite, when the 
number is multiplied, and all offer willingly, then, indeed, shall the top- 
stone be brought with shouting ; and then shall the Christian Church 
stand beauteous in its architecture, ample as the earth in its sweep, 
pure from defilement ; God and man shall there meet in constant wor- 
ship ; and all nations shall flow unto it, a chosen generation, a royal 
priesthood, showing forth the praises of him who hath brought them 
out of darkness into marvellous light. Yes ; " this shall be his rest 
for ever. Here will he dwell ; for he hath desired it. He will abun- 
dantly bless her provision, and satisfy her poor with bread. There 
will he make the horn of his Anointed to bud. Her walls shall be sal- 
vation, and her gates praise." well may we say, with such an end 
in view, " Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers," 
God of Paul, of Luther, of faithful evangelists in all ages, — " keep this 
for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, 
and prepare their heart unto thee." 

Sermon XVII. — Excitements to Missionary Effort. 

" Cast thy bread upon the waters : for thou shalt find it after many days. Give) 
a portion to seven, and also to eight ; for thou knowest not what evil shall bo 
upon the earth. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the 
earth : and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place 
where the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind shall not 
sow ; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not 
what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that 
is with child : even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In 
the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand : for thou 
knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall 
be alike good," Ecclesiastes xi, 1-6. 

This portion of the wisdom of the wisest of mere men is devoted to 
the inculcation of a lesson which, shame to our nature, we are often 
slow to learn,' — the inculcation of benevolence. The particular kind 
of well doing is not specified, because the application is general ; and 
the principles on which it rests are applicable to benevolence of every 
species. Charity to the bodies of men is not forbidden : that is a 
part of practical religion : " If thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he 
thirst, give him drink." " Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his 
brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, 
how dwelleth the love of God in him ?" But there are in man wants 
more pressing than the wants of the body ; miseries more to be de- 
plored than any that can befall that part of our nature. For the mise- 
ries of time, time has a remedy ; all will be ended at death. Lazarus 
carries not his sores into another world. But the wants of the soul 

Vol. I. 15 


refer to eternity ; and if they be not remedied in time, they are not re- 
medied for ever. Hence, the text applies to all attempts which are 
made to benefit the immortal part of man. We may learn this from 
the allusions which are employed : " Cast thy bread," the seed of bread, 
probably rice, " on the waters," the earth moistened by the overflow of 
rivers ; " and thou shalt find it after many days." This scarcely ap- 
plies to bodily relief; you feed the hungry, and he is satisfied. But 
in our charities toward the soul, we have need of patience ; and it is 
evident that spiritual benefit is chiefly here intended. I wish to direct 
your attention to some of the important objects which the text places 
before us. 

I. A large and liberal benevolence is enjoined upon us. "Cast thy 
bread upon the waters ;" and in another place we are told of the bless- 
edness of these who " sow beside all waters." 

Selfishness is at once the degradation, and part of the misery, of 
our nature. It shuts up some of the finest feelings of which we are 
capable. That which has separated man from God has also separated 
man from man. All our moralists have deplored this, and have endea- 
voured to remedy it. But the system of our religion is peculiar to itself; 
it accords with no other system in the remedy it employs. Moralists 
have attempted to destroy self by employing self, by making one pas- 
sion destroy another. Our religion does not act thus : it does not em- 
ploy Satan to cast out Satan ; it does not proclaim the doctrine of 
merit ; it does not make men benevolent by making them proud, but 
by planting in them humility and gratitude. These it makes the basis 
of benevolence. 

Men, in general, forget that they are pensioners on the Divine boun- 
ty ; but our religion proclaims to all in heaven and earth, " What hast 
thou that thou hast not received ?" and tells us, that, as we have freely 
received, we ought freely to give. Man surrounds himself by petty 
enclosures. There is the enclosure of sect : " the Jews have no deal- 
ings with the Samaritans." There is the enclosure of nations : a chain 
of mountains, or the intervention of the sea, shall separate from our re- 
gard all nations but our own. There is also the distinction of colour 
and of form. But the Gospel of Christ sweeps down all these distinc- 
tions : it makes us see and feel that every man, every poor wretch, is 
our relation, a member of the same family, a subject of the same 
agony and of the same sin. " He hath made of one blood all nations 
of men for to dwell upon all the face of the earth." 

The doctrine of stewardship is peculiar to our religion. This is a 
fine principle which the Gospel has brought to light : it teaches us, 
that though God is the fountain of all good, he has made creatures the 
instruments of good to man. All creatures look to God, all eyes wait 
on him. What appeals are made from widows ! from distressed or- 
phans ! And what cries, perhaps, from many a poor heathen, " feeling 
after God, if haply he may find him," and saying, " Where is God, my 
Maker f How many applications and addresses to God arise from 
all parts of his wide creation ! And is God forgetful, is he unmindful, 
of them ? He is not ; but his mode of relieving is not for himself to 
bestow the good required : he has called his servants ; he has bestow- 
ed on them his goods, and has made them his stewards. Here is 
another ground of gratitude which we ought to feel , and we ought to 


know how to "employ our Master's goods aright; for "after a long 
time" our Lord will come and call upon us to render a strict account 
of our stewardship. 

But it lays the foundation of benevolence in gratitude. The first 
collection that was ever made for the poor was made in a Gospel 
Church ; it was made throughout Macedonia, for the benefit of those 
who dwelt in Judea ; and when Paul considers this act of gathering in 
one nation for the relief of persons dwelling in another, he cries out, 
in the fulness of his heart, " Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable 
gift !" But the great motive which produced this new act in the world 
was this : "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." No other 
religion has such a motive to offer ; and no other heart can feel it, 
which has not come under the operation of Christianity: This moved 
that great missionary, the apostle of the Gentiles ; " the love of Christ 
constrained" him. And when we perceive His love in the ruin from 
which it has saved us ; when we reflect on all it has purchased ; and 
when we connect it with our souls, and God, and eternity ; then we 
come under the influence of all the motives we can wish to feel, in 
order to produce true benevolence, and to constrain us to act for our 
fellow creatures, till all the wants of all the men on earth are met. 
And this same principle shall keep men in a happy, unbroken society 
in the kingdom of God for ever. 

It is thus that Christianity calls up benevolence in man. And if 
there be in any humility in the first place, and gratitude in the second ; 
if, having received mercy, you are also desirous to show mercy ; then 
" cast your bread upon the waters." 

And mark the rule of progression : " Give a portion to seven, and 
also to eight." The rule, you perceive, is not narrow. We are not to 
say, " Give a portion to seven ;" and then on mature deliberation, fol- 
lowing the bent of nature, to add, " but rather to six." No ; " give a 
portion to seven, and also to eight." Let the work go on; let me do 
all 1 can to relieve the destitute, and soothe the afflicted, and spread the 
knowledge of the love of Christ through all the nations of the earth. 
This is the principle which, if acted upon, would soon change the 
whole world. 

II. Some interesting motives to the exercise of benevolence are 
here set before us. 

1. Here is a motive addressed to our hope. 

We naturally desire success in any enterprise on which we have 
fixed our hearts. And we are to be commended for this. The more 
interest we feel in the souls of men, the stronger are our views of their 
spiritual danger, the more eager must be our endeavours for their sal- 
vation. But yet We have no reason for despair, even when our suc- 
cess does not appear. Though our bread is not seen, hope still clings 
to the declaration, that it shall be found after many days. How often 
have we seen this illustrated in the course of our labours ! As to chil- 
dren, who have been the objects of our immediate care, in some cases 
we see the seed spring up ; in others there is no appearance what- 
ever of vegetation. But it is of great importance to remember that the 
seed and the labour are not lost. The fruit will appear ere long. And, 
O the blessedness of God in his Providence ! And, O the blessedness 
of affliction and sorrow, which have turned the attention to early in* 


sections and feelings, and have made them to become at last the 
means of bringing the individuals into the way of peace and salvation! 

How often do we see this illustrated in general life ! A man has 
been anxious that his conversation might be " good to the use of edify- 
ing, ministering grace unto the hearers." He has been anxious to 
avoid and correct all that is erroneous in society ; and no good seems 
to result from all his endeavours ; yet often do we see, even upon 
earth, how the image of a pure and bright example has been register- 
ed in the remembrance ; it has been as the seed under the clod, — not 
dead, but latent. We see this occasionally now ; and how many in- 
stances eternity may record, we cannot tell. Go, then, and cast abroad 
your seeds, — your good words, your holy example. Be always dili- 
gent ; trim thy light ; " cast thy bread upon the waters," and, in many 
instances, " thou shalt find it after many days." 

But how many interesting comments do Christian missions cast on 
this promise ! Bread cast upon the waters, — cast with trembling hands, 
cast under seemingly unpropitious circumstances, — is often found 
" after many days." I said, that missions afford a proof of this ; but 
where shall we go ? To what spot shall we turn ? Need we go to 
foreign missions ? You see it in yourselves. Ye men of holiness and 
zeal, who first visited our shores, what difficulties did you meet with! 
The Druids, and their awful mystic rites, their stony altars, their vic- 
tims, their sacrificing knives, all shot upon your eyes, and you felt the 
difficulties of the enterprise in which you had embarked ! Need we 
refer to other missions ? What appalling spectacles presented them- 
selves to the view of the missionary who first trod our shores ! He 
listened to the din of noisy festivals ; he beheld obscene and lascivious 
rites ; he saw the effect of the whole system of worship on the wretch- 
ed people by whom he was surrounded ; but he cast in the seed ; and 
has it not been found " after many days ?" You, brethren, with your 
religious assemblies, your faith in God, your love to our Lord Jesus 
Christ, your hope in heaven, — you, brethren, are proofs that seed cast 
upon the waters may be found " after many days." Those who are 
now in realms of glory, wearing the crown of their rejoicing " after 
many days," regarding you as the trophies of their success for ever ; — 
these are proofs that the encouraging declaration before us is true. 0, 
then, go on : future ages shall call you blessed ; and the glorious re- 
sults of your labour shall be found in that day, when " they shall come 
from the east, and the west, and the north, and the south, and sit down 
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God." There is, 

2. A motive addressed to our prudence and foresight : " Thou know- 
est not what evil shall be upon the earth." 

The prudent anticipation of evil upon the earth is a powerful motive 
to liberal exertion. This may apply, first, to ourselves. Who can tell 
how near evil may be to us, how near may be sickness, how near the 
final call of death ? Well, then, " cast your bread upon the waters." 
If your tongues must be so soon employed in groaning and in com- 
plaints, let them now, at least, be employed for God. If your feet 
must soon be laid upon the bed of sickness, let them now be employed 
in visiting the distressed, in carrying out the word of God, in collect- 
ing subscriptions for the support of his cause. And if death be so 
near, if you are hastening to " the house appointed for all living," what 


is the moral ? " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy 
might : for there is no work nor device in the grave, whither thou 
goest." Or there may be a change as to your circumstances. A time 
may be at hand, when your means of doing and enjoying good may 
not be so great as at present. Ah ! see how different are the maxims 
of worldly policy ! "I know not how soon I may be deprived of my 
present means ; therefore I must act prudently." Yes, prudently ; but 
take care that yours is religious, and not carnal prudence ; lest there be 
nothing left you but unavailing sorrow. This motive, I trust, will 
operate very differently upon you. You know not what evil may come ; 
therefore do all the good you can now ; and then, when the shadows 
fall upon you, they will fall more lightly, with the recollection that, 
though you have been unprofitable servants, and have done only your 
duty, yet, while you had the opportunity, you did all you were enabled 
to do by his providence and grace. 

But let us view the subject on a larger scale. The prospect of evii 
has always been a motive for exertion to good men. They have en- 
deavoured to meet the coming evil by laying up a store. Let us illus- 
trate this. The apostles, in the midst of their great and successful 
exertions, prophesied a fatal apostasy : they anticipated this terrible 
evil. It might be supposed that this would have operated to check 
their exertions. But they acted on the principle of the text ; they 
" cast their bread upon the waters ;" they " gave a portion to seven, 
and also to eight ;" they spread the seed freely and largely ; and, 
amidst a great apostasy, seed sprang up, of which we are now some 
of the pleasing fruit. What lovers of the Scriptures were the primitive 
Christians ! Before the invention of printing, with what zeal, and at 
what an expense, did they multiply copies of the sacred writings ! 
There was " evil" coming on the world. A plot would be formed 
to hide the Scriptures from mankind, and even to extirpate them. But 
the zeal of the ancient Christians had provided against this evil : the 
copies were too numerous to be put out of sight ; and they remained 
in the Church, to comfort the men of that age, and to exalt the hopes 
of the future. What laborious and faithful men were the reformers ! 
what powerful preachers, and what powerful writers ! When they 
could not preach, they wrote down the truth of God in books. How 
many books of piety, and of important, awakening truth, have sick 
chambers and solitary prisons produced ! Holy and zealous men have 
made use of their pens for the benefit of mankind. There was " evil" 
coming upon the world. It was a lamentable truth, that apostasy would 
take place ; that Christianity would be converted into a mere form, and 
become a dead letter. It is a fact, that, at one time, almost all the 
religion of this country was contained in these writings. But the time 
of visitation came upon us, and then those seeds sprang up. It is in 
this way the interests of religion have been preserved on the continent. 
There these books are acknowledged ; which will, we doubt not, be 
ere long appealed to, and be the means of raising up a glorious 
Church. What laborious men were there in this country in the last 
century ! " Many ran to and fro," and the knowledge of God in the 
heart of man was increased. There was " evil" coming on the world. 
The system of infidelity — a dark and gloomy system — arose ; it spread 
itself with rapidity over the continent, and mere nominal Christianity 


was unable to oppose any effectual barrier against it. But in this 
country it was otherwise. It was not likely that men would believe 
religion to be a " cunningly-devised fable," who had " the witness in 
themselves ;" who had its hopes and its consolations, its joys and its 
glories in themselves. They were not likely to be persuaded that all 
was a dream, who had their Bibles, and who had seen their Christian 
friends in the hour of death, and heard them crying out, in the language 
which Christianity only inspires, " O death ! where is thy sting ?" 
The dart was thrown here as well as in other places ; and it was aimed 
with as firm a hand ; but it was met on the shield of Christian faith, 
and parried by the sincere Christian. He had felt the truth of the 
system ; and it was not for him to doubt that which his eyes had seen 
and his heart had felt. 

Here we cannot but applaud the exertions of the British and Foreign 
Bible Society, in attempting to spread over the face of the whole earth 
the important principles of truth ; getting them translated into the lan- 
guages of those countries where infidelity reigned, and spreading them 
on the widest scale. There was " evil" coming upon the world ; a 
universal plot to check the progress of truth, and destroy civil and re- 
ligious liberty, and injure the immortal souls of men. This was the 
evil coming on the world ; which, however, that large distribution of 
the word of God met and provided for. The dark plot has been frus- 
trated ; men have been roused to wish for spiritual and religious liberty ; 
and we are now placed in circumstances in which we could not have 
been placed, had it not been for these exertions. 

See then, brethren, the force of this motive in reference to your 
exertions to send the Gospel throughout the world. You rejoice at a 
portion of success ; but you know not what " evil" is coming on the 
world ; you know not how the infant Churches may be tried, " as by 
fire," in a variety of ways. We know that earth is still earth ; that 
Christianity, in all nations, must be put to peculiar trials ; and there- 
fore we are called upon to " cast our bread upon the waters ;" to " give 
a portion to seven, and also to eight;" because Ave "know what evil 
may be upon the earth." We should lift up the standard in all nations, 
that, by whatever venom or evil men may be wounded, they may look 
up to this and find certain relief, as the dying tribes of Israel were 
healed by looking upon the brazen serpent. We have, 

3. A motive drawn from the fitness of the thing. " If the clouds be 
full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth:" 

The sun spreads its influence over the ocean, in consequence of 
which the waters evaporate ; thus the clouds become charged with 
moisture. ; and they are filled by this wonderful operation of nature, 
that they should empty themselves upon the earth, and contribute to its 
fertility. Now, what are these clouds but enriched men, enriched 
Churches, enriched nations ? — men blessed with talents ? — Churches 
abounding in religious blessings, and charged with the benefits of the 
Gospel 1 — and enriched nations, like our own, charged with various 
blessings, and the ability to do extensive good, and spreading its influ- 
ence to the east, to the west, to the north, and to the south ? If these 
are our circumstances, then there is a moral fitness in our benevolence. 
If God has given blessings to us, it is that out of our riches we may 
give to our fellow men, What would the clouds be without this ? 


However beautiful and varied the form which the winds might give to 
them, and however magnificent the light which might play upon their 
edges, what would they be but blots on our day, if they were ever ab- 
sorbing, and never giving any thing back ? And what are we, with 
all our knowledge, and with all our talents, if we do not aim to diffuse 
them abroad 1 If the clouds be full of rain, let them empty themselves 
upon the earth. Like the clouds in the spring of the year, which re- 
quire no great effort to make them pour forth their waters, but tremble 
at the lightest breeze, and impart their living springs to the earth ; so 
let Christian men be to the thirsty soils of this parched world. — 
There is, 

4. A motive drawn from the consideration of human mortality. " If 
the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where 
the tree falleth, there shall it be." 

We may apply this to the mortality of others. O how zealous ought 
we to be to preach the Gospel to those around us ! The time will 
soon come when this will be of no avail : " As the tree falls, so it lies ;" 
he that is holy will be holy still ; and he that is filthy will be filthy 
still. Doubtless, we may suppose a very considerable feeling of sym- 
pathy in the mind of Abraham, when one who was called his son 
addressed him in distress ; but what availed all his feelings, when " a 
great gulf" was fixed between him and the individual who sought his 
aid ? And how soon may all our sympathy for our fellow creatures be 
in vain ! If those who are now within our reach, if those who are 
now in darkness be not benefited by an application of the means God 
has given us in his providence, " a great gulf" will soon be fixed, over 
which no pity, no exertion can step. How important it is to do the 
work of the day in the day ! to " cast our bread upon the waters !" to 
"give a portion to seven, and also to eight !" to sow our seed " in the 
morning and in the evening !" We are dying, and the world is dying 
around us ! 

III. Several objections are implied in the text. 
1. The first seems to be, that the opportunity is not favourable to 
such exertions. " He that observeth the wind shall not sow ; and he 
that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." 

The wise man represents a husbandman intending to sow his seed ; 
but going forth, and after making a curious scrutiny into the weather, 
waiting for some atmospheric appearances, suited to his notions of 
propriety, till the seed time had passed away, and all his exertions 
would be vain. Now, what is this to teach us ? to be regardless of 
all outward appearances 1 Certainly not ; but that in the works in 
which we engage for the salvation of men, we are to proceed on a 
principle of faith. So every husbandman proceeds. He has a valuable 
commodity in his hands ; his seed is good ; and why should he part 
with it if he had not faith ? — faith in the original promise, " While the 
earth remaineth, seed time and harvest shall not cease ?" — faith in the 
providence of God, who " giveth food to all flesh ?" — faith in the good- 
ness of God, who is kind and bounteous to all his creatures ? — faith 
in the general order of nature, which God never interrupts but for some 
special purpose ? He goes on in faith. And this is the principle re- 
quired in us ; I know of nothing we can engage in aright without this ; 
but nothing needs it so much, I am sure, as the work of missions. If 


a person goes on to say, — nay, we will go with him, and confess, — 
" The clouds may often be dark ; there may frequently be circumstances 
of great discouragement ;" we reply, Circumstances are not more dis- 
couraging in your apprehension, than we ourselves are willing to 
acknowledge. But turn where we may, we see these indications. If 
Ave turn to the Jews, the veil is still on their hearts, as impervious as 
when, in days of old, it prevented them from beholding the glory of 
Him who was " full of grace and truth ;" and from perceiving " form 
and comeliness" in Him who was " altogether lovely." If we turn to 
the Mohammedans, we shall find that no impression has, as yet, been 
made on the public mind of that people ; and that no alteration has 
taken place in their circumstances encouraging to Christian exertion. 
If we go among savages, if they have more simplicity, they have also 
more ferocity. Who is to fly with the wild Arab to the desert, to teach 
him Christianity ? Who is to bury himself with the Esquimaux, be- 
neath the snows of winter, to benefit his mind 1 Who shall bring the 
aborigines of New South Wales to any thing like decency and Chris- 
tianity ? And if we turn to more civilized lands, their knowledge of 
sciences and arts only seems to lead them more fatally astray. Their 
systems are full of darkness ; and their governments, excited to jealousy, 
are determined to put down all attempts to produce a change. And if 
we look at the subject of climate, how appalling ! How many mis- 
sionaries die ! Some die before they have reached maturity ; and 
others return home useless. Heat forbids our approach to one climate, 
and ice to another, and pestilence to a third ; and death stands ready 
to shake his envenomed dart at those who go forth. And if we have 
found some regions better, and some men more docile, our hopes have 
soon been disappointed. There have been modifications of evil and 
opposition ; but every where we have found " the carnal mind enmity 
against God ;" every where " men love darkness rather than light." 
All this we grant you ; we will go and stand with you, and mark these 
portentous clouds. What then ? Are we to withhold the seed, or to 
sow it ? We are to sow it,— to sow it in faith ; — faith in the commis- 
sion of Christ, " Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to 
every creature ;" — faith in the promise of the Saviour, " Lo, I am with 
you always, even to the end of the world ;" — .faith in the irreversible 
covenant, " Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine in- 
heritance," and all these dark, ferocious savages, all these unwholesome, 
inhospitable climes, yea, " and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy 

2. A second objection seems to be, that, even if we apply ourselves 
to works of this kind, very frequently the manner in which God carries 
on his work is very different from the conceptions which we had formed. 
" As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones 
do grow in the womb of her that is with child ; even so thou knowest 
not the works of God who maketh all." 

As we granted the former objection, so we grant this. You speak 
of difficulty, and we grant it ; you speak of mystery, and we grant it. 
As we are involved in great perplexity in our examinations of the works 
of nature ; so there are mysteries in the workings of grace, which 
prove both to be His operation " who worketh all things after the 
counsel of his own will," 


This may be illustrated in the case of individuals. We generally 
form some idea of the manner in which their salvation will be brought 
about ; and how frequently are we disappointed ! We expect docility, 
and we meet resistance ; we look for respect, and we meet contempt ; 
and hence we conclude that no good is done. But how little do we 
know of the ways of God, of the ways of his grace ! The very enmity 
which the man shows is only an outward proof that we have kindled up 
war in his soul ; and the man under our eye, and the man under the 
eye of God, are two very different persons. Sometimes we suppose 
that a man in agony will cry out, " What must I do to be saved ?" while 
God is softening his heart by a gentle process. Again we make use 
of gentle means ; and God, by his Spirit, awakens him, and causes him 
to rush, by a mighty effort, into salvation. In some, there seem to be 
many hopeful signs ; so that we suppose them to be " not far from the 
kingdom of God ;" and yet we behold " harlots and publicans" entering 
before those who we had thought were on the very threshold. We 
meet with desperate characters, to whom we are almost afraid to preach 
the Gospel ; we are afraid to tell the malefactor that he may be saved ; 
afraid to go to men at the eleventh hour, and tell them that there is a 
full and free salvation for them ; and yet we mark how God does in a 
moment reveal himself to such, before a whole nation of Pharisees 
expressing their opinion by their sneers ; and how he comes to men, 
even at the eleventh hour, plucking them, as brands, from a burning 

And we have sketches of plans in our own minds, as to nations also. 
A nation is to be roused, to be brought under moral and religious influ- 
ence. We think much is to be done by laws ; by the application of 
splendid example ; by means of men in the higher ranks of society ; 
and we have no hope of good till these agencies appear. But while 
men are speculating on these plans, God is forming a people for him- 
self from among the lower classes, as he did in this land ; proceeding 
from the less to the greater ; awakening attention, producing inquiry, 
effecting salvation, causing it, by these means, to reach to a greater 
extent, and to spread through all gradations of society, till it influences 
men of rank, and finally reaches the cabinet. Then, on the other hand, 
we are ready to exclude all greatness, and all law, and to say, " God 
works not by an arm of flesh ; he uses not human means." At the 
same time God works ; and he uses all these distinctions, and rank, 
and influence, and genius, and makes them all subservient to the pro- 
motion of his great cause. God acts not by any man's plans, but leaves, 
it to us to say, " Thou knowest not the works of God." 

Apply this to missions. How often are our previous conceptions 
perfectly sported with, in the way in which He carries on the work ! 
We see, in this country, how religion is connected with arts and 
sciences ; and we think that it must be so abroad ; while, in truth, our 
missionaries see Christianity, not following in the train of these things, 
but bringing them in her rear. We look to countries in which we have 
authority and government, and we dwell on the advantages of having 
laws for our protection. We say, that for missionaries to go into 
distant lands, where men are wild and lawless, is only to expose them- 
selves needlessly to danger. When, lo, how often do barbarians show 
our messengers " no small kindness," while God is " a shield to them, 


and the lifter up of their heads !" Then we go to other schemes : we 
say, *' We are too full of our own plans ; we are placing too much 
dependence on governments and establishments ;" when, mark how, 
under the shelter of these regulations, and the sanction of these govern- 
ments, we are enabled in safety to sow the seed, and we are blessed 
with success, which, but for this shelter, we could not have had. Again : 
we see the superstitions of heathen lands blended with false science, 
with false theology, with false astronomy, with false chronology ; and 
we cannot see what can be done without expert logicians, acute theolo- 
gians, profound scholars, excellent linguists ; these must be the men. 
But mark ! while we are waiting for such men, God is raising up 
linguists on the spot ; and while we are considering and scheming, the 
word of God gets translated into the language of the land ; and words 
spoken from the hearts of men who know but little of worldly science 
are spoken to the heart ; and Christian Churches, under the influence 
of these heart-spoken words, arise to call the Saviour blessed. Then 
if we conclude, on the other hand, that human science and talents are 
not blessed of God ; we find in the eastern world, that the light of our 
science is streaming forth throughout the nations, and gradually destroy- 
ing, in the minds of men, those superstitions which are founded on 
erroneous views of the constitution of the universe. Still farther : 
there are many false systems which are upheld by power. Popery 
frowns ; the Tartar publishes his edicts of death ; and other arbitrary 
enactments induce us to lay aside the use of means, while we look out 
for great political changes to be effected. We anticipate that the 
kingdom of Christ is to be set up amidst subverted thrones ; and our 
eyes glow, and our hearts seem almost to dance, at the sight of the 
glittering spear and the sound of the trumpet of war. And yet we have 
had experience enough of this in our own day. The sword was abroad 
around us for years, and we know of no spiritual fruit that was produced. 
O the folly of this politico-theology! We find that, during the few 
years of peace we have enjoyed, good men have been raised up on 
various parts of the continent, the Bible has been circulated, and 
abundant means have been employed and blessed since the termination 
of the desolation. But then, again, if we were to say, " All these are 
judgments, and no designs of mercy are connected with them," we 
should err again. He, it is true, who hopes that war will make men 
better, will be disappointed. But the wheel of Providence is full of 
eyes ; and these things may be overruled to prepare the way for a more 
liberal distribution of the word of God. Just as in the clefts of a rock, 
or in a piece of architecture broken by age, a seed shall be dropped ; 
and as the moisture trickles down to it, it swells, and vegetates, and 
breaks down the surrounding masonry, and thus converts the crumbling 
materials into matter for its own vegetation. 

3. A third objection is, that there will be a partial failure. " Thou 
knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that." 

Part of the seed will perish. We admit this ; we hide it not ; it is 
a fact that part of the seed will perish, and that the condemnation of 
men is increased by the hearing of the Gospel. Some have objected 
to this, We shall increase the condemnation of men, by preaching the 
Gospel to them. But this same objection would have kept Christ in 
heaven. " If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had 


sin ; but now they have no cloak for their sin." It would exclude all 
light from men. " This is the condemnation, that light is come into the 
world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds 
were evil." " We are a savour of death unto death, as well as a savour 
of life unto life." But what is your duty ? Why, as to yourselves, it is 
to " give the more earnest heed to the things that you have heard, lest 
at any time you should let them slip ;" and, as to others, to do all you 
can to give effect to the administration of the Gospel, by renewed 
exertions, and by more fervent prayers. I wonder which of our mis- 
sionary societies, as to the degree of their success, could bear the test 
of the parable of the sower. If we follow that representation strictly, 
we may suppose that three parts of the seed which is sown perishes. 
But, though this were true, still the sower, according to the command 
of the Lord, is to go forth and sow. But then, brethren, let us look at 
the consolatory reflection that follows : " We know not the works of 
God ;" we know not " which shall prosper ;" but we know not, also, 
" whether they both shall be alike good." We know not but all to 
whom we preach may be saved ; but all to whom we administer advice 
may be benefited. And we all believe that a time is coming when the 
preaching of Christ, and all the seed sown, shall alike be blessed and 
fruitful, and " the word of the Lord have free course and be glorified." 
Until the arrival of that period, " until the Spirit be poured from on 
high," "blessed are they that sow beside all waters." 
IV. We have some reasons for diligence and constancy. 
" In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine 
hand ; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, 
or whether they both shall be alike good." 

1 . The first reason is taken from the quality of the seed. 
The seed you sow is good. The seed here referred to is that of 
bread, in which man's vitality, nourishment, and strength, all seem to 
be bound up. So in the word of God there is all that can bless and 
dignify man here, and prepare him for everlasting glory. For in him 
who receives this seed there springs up that knowledge which reveals 
to him his nature, his condition, his destiny, and his duty ; that humble 
penitence which leads the soul to bow before its God ; that faith which 
lays hold on Christ as a sufficient Saviour ; that love which leads to 
all goodness and holiness ; that affection to all the members of the same 
family which prompts him to seek their welfare ; that power which, 
having girded on the spiritual armour, makes him more than conqueror 
over sin and death. 

From this spring, also, all those principles which, operating on 
society at large, maintain a warfare with all that is evil, and will con- 
tinue to do so till all evil is destroyed ; that sense of justice which 
shall break every bond of oppression, and release every slave ; which 
shall take away all cause of war, and bind the hearts of men together 
by one tie of affection ; those principles of mercy which leave no want 
unrelieved, but render every man a friend and a brother ; those princi- 
ples of order which respect masters, magistrates, and all in authority, 
and which effectually secure to them all that is their due ; those 
principles which connect all in one great family, and give vitality and 
strength to all that is benevolent and kind ; those principles, in fine, 
which, by planting Divine love in man, produce effects the most great, 


benign, and glorious, to the whole human race. This forms a powerful 
motive, therefore, to diligence and constancy in sowing the good seed. 
O, what results are these ! An angel might envy the task of bringing 
them about, but God has reserved the honour for favoured man. 

2. Consider the small portion of the world which, after all, has been 
sown with this blessed seed. 

I undervalue not what has been done : God forbid I should ! If we 
look at home, we have reason to rejoice in the vast good that has been 
done. If we look abroad, though we only see a verdant patch here and 
there in the wilderness, how ought we to rejoice ! And yet, who can- 
not but lament that the seed has been sown in so few places ? 0, when 
shall Europe be cleared of the noxious weeds which have hitherto choked 
so much of the good seed which has been sown ! When we look at 
Asia, and see the smoke of the bottomless pit darkening the minds of 
so many myriads ; when we see the abominations of Hindostan, so 
refined, so cruel, and so full of lust ; we may well wish for the time 
when all this shall be displaced by the doctrine of one Lord and one 
Mediator. When we see that some nations of the world have bowed 
their necks to the yoke of Christ, we cannot but wish that all may feel 
the same harmonizing influence, and take upon them the yoke of Him 
who is " meek and lowly in heart." And though this delightful period 
may seem at a great distance, yet let us not doubt. There is no men- 
tion of any doubt in the text ; it speaks of success, and of success only. 
We are sowing the good seed ; and it is given to us plentifully, abun- 
dantly ; we have sufficient to sow the whole world. And though we 
have, comparatively, few labourers, we have every encouragement to 
" pray the Lord of the harvest that he would send more labourers into 
the harvest." All the wheat which is in this country sprang from a 
few seeds, which were brought here by the hands of a thoughtful 
individual ; and now, year after year, we are blessed with abundant 

3. Remember that you all, without exception, have it in your power 
still more largely to promote this good work. 

This I am fully prepared to prove. How has it been promoted? By 
prayer. And may we not pray more fervently than we have ever yet 
done ? And does not God regard " the prayer of his elect, which cry 
day and night unto him ?" How has the work been promoted ? By 
conversation. One has thus kindled the fire in the breast of another. 
Let us do so yet more. It is said, " All thy works shall praise thee, 
O Lord, and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory 
of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power ; to make known to the sons of 
men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom." Let 
us do this, and so fan the zeal and charity which now glow in our 
hearts, that we may be excited to new ardour, and that the cause may 
never die. I conceive that this cause has been promoted very greatly 
by our anniversary missionary meetings. And let us aim that a more 
pious feeling may mark this anniversary ; that we may be more dead 
to self, and to all that might at all mar or impede our efforts. Let us 
guard against dissipation ; let us seek to make these services serious 
and sacred ; let us be much in prayer. Let us maintain a spirit of in- 
tercession with God ; a feeling of lively gratitude for our innumerable 
privileges ; a love to all who bear the Saviour's name ; and an ardent 


zeal for all that is connected with the Redeemer's honour. And as to 
liberality, we all know how much has been done by this. It is not for 
me to say how much this may be enlarged. the blessedness of that 
individual on whom Christ looked, and of whom he said, " She hath 
done what she could !" Let each individual ask, " Lord, is it I ?" — 
" Cast thy bread upon the waters ; for thou shalt find it after many 
days. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not 
thine hand ; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or 
that, or whether they both shall be alike good." 

Sermon XVIII. — Christian Citizenship. 

" For our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we look for the Saviour, 
the Lord Jesus Christ : who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned 
like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to 
subdue all things unto himself," Philippians iii, 20, 21. 

Christianity, as taught by the apostles, presented a standard of 
moral attainment, both in personal experience and conduct. Observe 
this : a pure and perfect system is realized. They did not deal in the 
false commerce of truths unfelt. They could say, as the apostle does 
say in this chapter, " Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark 
them that walk so as ye have us for an ensample." So that his own 
experience of religious truth was not solitary. Many of those with 
whom he was surrounded, many members of the Churches he had 
raised, many of his coadjutors, walked like himself. They all walked 
together in the way of Jesus Christ. 

But there were teachers in the primitive Churches, and members in 
those Churches too, who did not walk thus. " For many walk, of whom 
I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the 
enemies of the cross of Christ." They were enemies in their principles, 
even as they were Judaizing men, who enforced the Mosaic economy, 
in opposition to the atonement of Christ, declared in the Gospel. De- 
scribing their character, the apostle says, " Whose end is destruction ,' 
whose God is their belly ; who mind earthly things." 

The reason he gives why the Philippians should fix their attention 
on his example, and the example of true Christians, is afforded by the 
text. " For our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we look 
for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ : who shall change our vile body, 
that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the 
working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." — 
In these words we find specified, 

First. The character of true Christians, in opposition to false pro- 

Secondly. A view of those glorious hopes which they entertain. — 
Under the moral and sanctifying influence of those hopes, the Chris- 
tians of the apostolic times could say, " We have our conversation in 
heaven ; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus 
Christ, who shall change our vile body, and fashion it like unto his 
own glorious body." 


The subject is too large for discussion for one service ; I shall, 
therefore, this morning fix your attention on the first topic just men- 
tioned, and leave the latter for the evening. 

This morning, then, we shall consider the heavenly " conversation" 
of true Christians. The word " conversation," as used in Scripture, is 
taken in a more extensive sense than in common language. We now 
generally limit it to discourse ; but at the time when our translation of 
the Scriptures was made, it was used to express the whole of a person's 
conduct and deportment. " Having your conversation," your conduct, 
" honest among the Gentiles." " Let your conversation," your whole 
deportment, "be as becometh the Gospel of Christ." In this extensive 
sense the word is used in the text. 

A strict rendering of the words will present us with other ideas con- 
nected with this subject. The words are, literally, " We conduct our- 
selves as citizens of heaven ;" in opposition to those persons who mind 
earthly things. " Our conversation is in heaven ;" we conduct ourselves 
as citizens of heaven ; " from whence also we look for the Saviour, the 
Lord Jesus Christ." 

We proceed, then, to consider, 
I. The heavenly citizenship of Christians. 
1 . What is the city to which they belong 1 

The apostle tells us it is heaven. We shall enter into the meaning 
of this allusion, by considering that the Jews were persons who felt it 
their peculiar national honour, as to every individual, that the metro- 
polis of their country was the holy city, the city of God, the place of 
the temple, the residence of God, and where the holy service was per- 
formed. The same feelings prevailed among the Greeks and Romans, 
to whom the apostle ministered. The Grecians had their respective 
cities ; the city of Rome was famed throughout the world ; and every 
citizen used to boast of the extent of the population, and the power, 
of the city to which he belonged. Entering into these ideas, and 
sanctifying them, the apostle represents true Christians as composing 
a commonwealth He gives them a Sovereign, in the person of Jesus 
Christ their Lord. He gives them a city, and represents them as 
citizens of it. It is not an earthly city of which he speaks ; for there 
is Jerusalem above, which is the mother of all true Christians. This 
is the metropolis of the great empire of the universe, where God him- 
self dwells in manifestations of glory and light, inaccessible to flesh 
and blood ; where his creatures, the seraphim that surround his throne, 
and angels, as ministering spirits, stand to do his pleasure ; where the 
spirits of good men are gathered ; and to which all true Christians on 
earth are continually ascending. " Here we have no continuing city ; 
but we seek a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker 
is God." This is the city of which the apostle here speaks ; a city 
ornamented by the overflowing goodness of God, and fitted for the 
eternal residence of those who love him and are beloved of him. 
2. When are true Christians made citizens of this heavenly state ? 
Formerly they were " children of wrath, even as others." Once they 
were " aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, having no hope, and 
being without God in the world." They had no inheritance in the 
kingdom of Christ and of God. The great act by which they are ii 1 
vested with the citizenshirrof the heavenly Jerusalem is that of pardon. 


When, by the preaching of the Gospel, a man is made sensible of h - 
alienated condition ; that he is of the world, and at enmity with God , 
that he is in the condition of a rebel against the majesty of heaven ; 
when, under a sense of danger, he humbles himself before the Mos* 
High, whom he has offended, and embraces the word of reconciliation, 
which sounds forth from the mercy seat, when he accepts the atoning 
sacrifice by which reconciliation is effected ; in that moment God 
forgives his sins, and justifies him freely by his grace, and the man is 
made a citizen of heaven ; his name is inscribed in the book of life ; 
there is written upon him the name of the city of our God, and he bears 
the inscription of the name of God himself. Such is the value of par- 
don ; such is the astonishing change which the forgiveness of our ini- 
quities produces in our relations. We are no longer of the world ; we 
are brought out of the body of men against whom the wrath of God is 
revealed, and who cannot inherit the kingdom of God ; and we are 
associated with all those whose names are enrolled in the heavenly 
city. We are considered its citizens, and shall be finally gathered 
there to enjoy its blessedness for ever. 

It may be inquired, 

3. What are the privileges connected with this state of relation to 
the heavenly city ? What are the advantages arising from being citizens 
of heaven ? 

These are many and important. The first is freedom. That had 

an importance when the apostle wrote ; the allusion had an importance 

which it has not now. It is now of very inferior consequence to be 

free of any city, however distinguished, where the body of the people 

are free ; but in Rome the great body of the people were in a state of 

absolute slavery, as much so as the negroes in most of the West Indian 

colonies. Those only were free who were freemen of cities ; others 

were at the absolute will of masters who were frequently cruel. They 

were liable to every kind of insult, abuse, and injury. In this view the 

apostle's word " alien," with respect to Christians, has great force. When 

Jesus Christ, speaking of the Jews, says, " If the Son shall make you 

free, you shall be free indeed," they were offended at the observation, 

thinking he considered them slaves in a civil sense , and they said, 

" We be Abraham's children, and were never in bondage to any man." 

Our Lord informed them that there was a moral slavery : " Whosoevei 

committeth sin, is the slave of sin." Sin has usurped a tyrannical 

power which has destroyed all that free agency which man originally 

possessed. Every man who is not liberated by the grace and mercy 

of Jesus Christ is under the government and power of the god of this 

world, a slave to divers lusts and pleasures, bound in the chains of 

Satan. How many are sensible of it ! How often do men resolve to 

break off their sins, but they find no power ! How frequently do they 

plan schemes of reformation, but they want ability to carry them into 

practice ! If any are utterly insensible of this, and fancy themselves 

free, it is only a proof of the dreadful effect of sin, at once to enslave 

and infatuate ; and this in consequence of rejecting the liberty of the 

sons of God. Thus they remain slaves, while they fancy themselves 

free. It is the high privilege of heaven-born sons that this bondage is 

broken, and they are emancipated. They have come under the mild 

and gracious government of the Lord Jesus Christ, and prove that his 


service is perfect freedom. We have no proof of our citizenship, 
unless we have been enabled, by Divine power, to break off our sins. 
" Be not deceived ; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as 
he is righteous." If a man's experience go no higher than this, " When 
I would do good evil is present with me," he is still a slave of sin. 

4. A fourth privilege of citizenship is, that it admits every person 
to honourable employment and office. 

There is not a single citizen of the New Jerusalem whose employ- 
ment is not honourable. I grant, there is a diversity of offices. When 
Jesus Christ ascended on high, "he gave some prophets, some evan- 
gelists, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry, for the 
perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ." But 
every Christian is an official character, and bears the honourable relation 
of priest in God's temple. This city is a holy city; it is a temple itself, 
and all the temple that God has in the world. When St. John had a 
vision of the heavenly city, he saw no temple there ; for the fact is, the 
city itself was the temple. So is the city on earth. God is not worship- 
ped in a temple made with hands ; his temple is composed of living 
stones ; and every person who is a citizen of the heavenly city is a priest 
in this holy temple. To him it belongs to offer the gifts and sacrifices 
of God, to approach him with daily thanksgiving, and to offer prayers 
for himself and others. He is an intercessor for all mankind ; and 
takes his incense, and puts it into the censer of Jesus Christ ; that 
censer which contains the prayers of all the saints, and which he is 
continually offering before the throne of God. 

5. Another privilege is fellowship and communion with the whole 
body of Israel. 

" These things I write unto you, that you may have fellowship with 
us ; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus 
Christ." The apostle informs us, one great object of the death of 
Christ was to gather all into one, both things in heaven and things on 
earth ; men and angels into one society, one community, one relation 
of communion and fellowship. " For this cause I bow my knees to 
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family 
in heaven and earth is named." How inspiring a thought is this ! The 
communion of saints is a blessing of incalculable benefit, for this rea- 
son, — that no Christian is joined merely with his own party, but is a 
member of the universal Church of Christ upon earth. 

" Scatter'd o'er all the earth they lie." 

God sees them every where. Every true Christian receives the benefit 
of the prayers of the millions of Christians who reside on earth ; and 
that is not merely an idea. There are many blessings we receive, 
not in answer to our own prayers merely, but those of others. Many 
signal interpositions of mercy in our favour are benefits to be referred 
to the ministry of all the heavenly citizens, who, as the priests of God, 
interest themselves in special prayer for all them that love the Lord 
Jesus Christ in sincerity. 

This fellowship connects us with angels. There is a special inte- 
rest that angels, however invisible, have in the Church of Christ. In 
the early ages of Christianity this was indicated by their taking a visi- 
ble part in the affairs of the Church on earth. Jesus Christ has given 


us an interesting view of the concern felt by the higher part of the 
family of God, where he says, " There is joy in the presence of the 
angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." The Apostle Paul has 
said, " They are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to the 
heirs of salvation :" and hence, in writing to the Hebrews, he says, 
" Ye are come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, and 
to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men 
made perfect." 

There is another Being with whom the Church has communion. 
Every heavenly citizen has communion with God. " We have fellow- 
ship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ ;" and this union 
is represented to us by an interesting figure. Christ is the Head, and 
we are the members. So intimate is the connection, that altogether 
they form but one body. He himself has a delightful metaphor, too : 
"I am the Vine ; ye are the branches. Every branch in me that bear- 
eth fruit he purgeth, that it may bring forth more fruit." This com- 
munion has the heavenly citizen with his Lord. He is joined to Christ, 
who is the Head of the Church, and the Judge of all. 

6. Another privilege is, he has a right to the common property. 

Therefore the apostle tells us of " the inheritance of the saints m 
light." This privilege is not nominal, but real. Every person admit" 
ted into this state of citizenship becomes proprietor of the inheritance 
which God himself has prepared for the saints in light. What is that 
inheritance ? It comprehends many external advantages. God's pro- 
vidence, while they remain in this world, is the inheritance of the 
saints ; and a satisfying inheritance it is. It always gives what is 
good, and withholds what is evil. These words stand true, (connect- 
ing earthly things with heavenly,) that " no good thing will he withhold 
from them that walk uprightly." Whatever appears good, and is with- 
held, it is not good for us, all things considered. It is not good, taking 
in our whole nature and interest, our souls and our bodies, time and 
eternity ; " for no good thing will he withhold from them that walk up- 
rightly." All our external happiness, and even our felicity in a future 
state, are comprehended in this inheritance ; but this is not its greatest 
part. The emphasis is in this : it does not lie in either of these, but 
where the apostle has placed it. If citizens, then heirs, heirs of God, 
and joint heirs with Christ. We are joint heirs with the humanity of 
Jesus Christ. Even as the humanity is joined to the Godhead, in 
some such way must the spirits of all the saints be united to God in 
heaven. God himself is their inheritance. His presence is their vital 
influence. The communications to them shall be rich and uninterrupt- 
ed. They shall be sharers of his bliss and purity ; surrounded with 
the everlasting arms of his power ; and all the perfections of his nature 
shall be engaged to make them blessed. 

We proceed to consider, 

II. The conduct manifested by true Christians, and corresponding 
with their privilege : " Our conversation is in heaven ;" we conduct 
ourselves as citizens of heaven. 

This must be the conversation of the whole community. It cannot 
be otherwise. We speak of the genius of a people. All collective 
bodies acquire a genius, a common character. The Greeks were re- 
markable for refinement. The Romans were remarkable for an ex- 

Vol. I. 16 


pression of lofty ambition. There must needs be a common character 
in the citizens of heaven. If we are to specify one common charac- 
ter, that which absorbs and takes in every other peculiarity, what shall 
we fix upon but holiness ? Hence the term " saints," and " sanctified." 
Hence the exhortation, " Having these promises, dearly beloved, let 
us cleanse ourselves from all filthincss of the flesh and spirit, perfect- 
ing holiness in the fear of God." Hence they are denominated right- 
eous persons. The nations of them who are saved walk in the heavenly 
citv, and inhabit it. They are clothed in white, as an emblem of puri- 
ty ; and have palms in their hands as an emblem of victory. Observe, 
then, unless our genius, our whole character, be holy, we do not carry 
about with us the mark ; the name of our God, and of the city of our 
God. It will be impossible for us, in the nature of things, — if we are 
acquainted with the institutions of this city, if we live under its influ- 
ence, if we live under its laws, if we associate with its citizens, if we 
are connected with the Lord and Governor, — it is impossible there 
should be in our minds any thing but continual hatred to what is evil, 
and a choice of what is good, and an endeavour to conform our inward 
tempers and outward conduct to its principles. It follows, that if you 
are living under the influence .of unsanctified passions, if you do not 
bear the stamp of holiness, your claim of citizenship is unfounded ; 
and you rather belong to those persons who live not according to the 
Gospel, but walk so as to excite the weeping apostle to say, " Ye are 
the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction." Let us 
remember, then, our character ; and ever recollect, that, as citizens of 
heaven, we should bear this character, even in a polluted world. There 
is no reason why we should yield to the influence of temptation, because 
the world is polluted. The disciples of Jesus Christ are intended to be 
the light of this dark world, and the salt of this corrupted earth. " Fear 
not," says he ; "I have overcome the world ; and greater is he that is 
in you than all that is in the world." So it is possible, if there be any 
meaning in the declai-ations of Jesus Christ, it is possible for us to 
conquer that enemy which he conquered, and weakened in his power, 
in order that his followers may contend on more equal terms, and in 
the spirit of faith obtain the victory. 

We converse as citizens of heaven. We not only maintain this 
character of holiness generally, but we boast of the institutions of this 
heavenly city. The apostle seems to have this in view when he re- 
fers to those who were the enemies of the cross of Christ. The cross 
of Christ has ever been the great touchstone of the characters and 
feelings of the persons to whom he alludes. In order to avoid the 
stigma of the cross, they gave up the great doctrine of the atonement. 
The apostle, therefore, says of himself, " God forbid that I should glo- 
ry," — though once I was ashamed of this, — " save in the cross of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto 
the world." Whenever there is a spirit of shame, there is treachery ; 
and whenever there is treachery, Jesus disowns us as citizens of his 
inheritance. We ought to glory in all the institutions of Christianity. 
In doing this we may meet with difficulties in some instances. We 
may have a cross to bear ; but he who refuses to bear his cross, would 
in the circumstances of Judas, have betrayed Christ ; and, in the cir- 
cumstances of Peter he would have denied him. Ever remember that 


God has left iii every Church, and in every individual Christian, the 
deposit of his pure truth ; and that truth is thus deposited to be made 
known to the world, and transmitted from age to age, and from one 
generation to another. 

If we converse as citizens of heaven, we shall be, as the apostles 
Were, bold and courageous. " And when they saw," — the rulers among 
the Jews, — " the boldness of Peter and John, they took knowledge of 
them, that they had been with Jesus ;" that they had been brought up 
at the feet of that Master who never knew how to fear man. They 
took knowledge of them, that they had been brought up at the feet of 
that Master who had said, " Fear not them that kill the body." The 
false shame of many in the apostle's days made him weep ; but he re- 
joiced that God had not given him the spirit of fear. From what did 
that courage arise ? From a truth we ought never to forget, — that 
every true Christian is under the protection of his Lord. Every citi- 
zen is under the protection of the magistrate of his city. Wherever a 
Roman went, his shield was the magistrate of Rome. Wherever an 
Englishman goes, he feels himself under the protection of his country ; 
he knows that he is a citizen of Great Britain ; her laws protect him 
every where. Some such idea seems to have prevailed in the apos- 
tle's mind. Wherever there are citizens of heaven, we know they are 
under the protection of God, the chief Magistrate and universal King , 
and as his power is efficient in every place, we know that power would 
avenge them. " Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." 
There never was the blood of a martyr shed upon earth, the curse of 
which was not recorded. The souls of them who are slain cry out from 
under the altar, " How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not avenge 
our blood?" This principle inspired the apostles, and ought to inspire us, 
with boldness in all the calamities and dangers of life. We should ever 
recollect that the eye of the sovereign Lord is upon us. He who has all 
power perfectly surrounds his people, as the hills surround Jerusalem. 

If we are citizens of heaven, it will be seen in our spirit. It will 
be holy, and we shall feel for the common cause. This is the pecu- 
liarity of the kingdom of which we are the subjects. There is a per- 
petual hostility to every other power on earth. Light cannot compro- 
mise its kingdom with darkness, nor Christ with Belial. As we are 
priests in his temple, soldiers in his service, we ought with all zeal 
and enterprise to endeavour to spread the truth of Christ, and call men 
from the service of Satan unto God. It ought to give us the highest. 
joy at seeing that heavenly city continually crowded with new inhabit- 
ants. We should pray and exhort whenever Providence presents an 
opportunity, remembering that we live not to ourselves. 

He who converses as a citizen of heaven has his affections there. 
We find, therefore, that the apostle opposed the people who in the 
preceding verse are represented as minding earthly things. How 
natural is it, when at a distance from our native land, to turn our thoughts 
to it ! How natural for persons of the same city, meeting in a distant 
part of the earth, at once to recognize each other, and enter with spirit 
and feeling into conversation concerning their common country ! Can 
a person separated from home remain long without having his mind 
directed to it ? Will he not be ready, on all occasions, to converse 
about it ? What shall we say of citizens of heaven who never think 


of it ? to whom the very thought of it is extremely dull ? who in the 
midst of their business and pursuits on earth feel themselves quite at 
home ? Can we say of persons of this kind, that they converse as 
citizens of heaven ? Is it not a proof that there is nothing spiritual in 
their hearts, nothing heavenly there ? If we would act correspondently 
with this high character, and those great privileges, we should acquire 
a habit of heavenly meditation ; and our minds should be fixed on those 
things which belong to our peace. If our affections are dull when 
objects of this kind are presented to our minds, we may take this as a 
proof of the deficiency of our experience. In order that these high 
and heavenly prospects may engage our minds, in order that we may 
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, we should be 
constantly pressing forward, till we enter that city of God where all is 
joy and peace. 

Thus every true Christian is a citizen of heaven ; and by acting in 
this manner he has his conversation there. 

The latter part of our subject is to engage our attention in the 

Let us ctose the whole by observing, that this heavenly state of mind 
can only be preserved by looking for the Saviour, the Lord from heaven. 

These two characters should not be separated in our minds whenever 
we think of the coming of Christ. He is our Saviour and our Lord. 
He saves us at present from all sin ; and at his second appearing will 
save us from death, and all the power of the grave. In his almighty 
power and love let us trust, that he may save us to the uttermost, ac- 
cording to the promises of his word. We should come to him for a com- 
plete salvation. " According to thy faith, so shall it be done unto thee." 

And let no man forget that Jesus is his Lord, his Master, and his 
Judge. " And if judgment first begin at the house of God, where shall 
the ungodly and the sinner appear ?" " His fan is in his hand ; and he 
will throughly purge his floor ; and will gather the wheat into his 
garner; but he will burn up the chaff with fire unquenchable." 

You profess to be citizens of heaven ; yet yours is only profession, 
if you habitually mind earthly thingc. Beware of this. Christ has 
a double character of Saviour and Lord. None but those who have 
lived in his service, and have conversed as citizens of heaven, can be 
accepted of him at last. Go and look on him under these characters. 
Let them impress you with solemnity on the one hand, and with joy 
on the other. Amen. 

Sermon XIX. — The Resurrection of the human Body. 

" For our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we look for the Saviour, 
the Lord Jesus Christ : who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned 
like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to 
subdue all things unto himself," Philippians iii, 20, 21. 

With one stroke of the pencil of inspiration the apostle has, in this 
chapter, drawn an eternal mark of distinction between true Christians 
and the men of this world. Of the latter he affirms, " They mind 


earthly things ;" that earthly things engage their affections and their 
efforts ; that nothing spiritual, nothing eternal can draw their attention 
from the vanities and cares of earth. In vain time rolls on ; in vain 
the solemnities of a judgment are in preparation ; in vain they are 
informed that there is another world, ready to burst upon their view ; 
they still are prone to the earth, and mind earthly things. This is the 
infallible characteristic of the unconverted spirit. " They that are 
of the flesh mind the things of the flesh." If earthly things be the 
principal object of our attention, the principal object of our life, of our 
pursuit, of our anxiety, we need no other intimation to which of those 
two classes we belong. Whether our lives be moral, or immoral, 
whether we are professors of religion or not, whether or not we are 
held in esteem by those about us, we are among those who glory in 
their shame, and are of an earthly mind. This is a mind at enmity 
with God, and inconsistent with the spirit and character of the Gospel. 

With the same brevity, and, at the same time, with equal force, the 
apostle has marked the character of true Christians. " Our conversa- 
tion is in heaven ;" or, we converse as citizens of heaven ; or, as others 
render it, our conversation is for heaven. All our thoughts and purposes, 
all our words and works, have a reference to that future and heavenly 
state, which is the object of our hope. A new principle is introduced 
into the mind ; new objects of pursuit are set before us ; things 
spiritual and eternal affect our wills, and raise the affections of our 
souls. We have a new end for which we live. We live in reference 
to that state of felicity which Jesus Christ has promised in his Gospel ; 
and for which the work of our life is to prepare. How truly, indeed, 
ought objects of this kind to occupy our regards ! Is it not true that 
we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ 1 Do we not believe 
that he who left his disciples will come again the second time 1 " The 
Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son ;" 
and his second coming is that event which puts an end to time, and 
opens to us the boundless prospects of eternity. And can .we fail to 
have our conversation in heaven? to have a reference to it in our 
general temper, and the tenor of our lives, if in truth also we believe, 
that he shall change or re-fashion these vile bodies of ours, and make 
them like unto his glorious body, in order to put us in possession of an 
eternal weight of glory, of which he himself is in possession ? Let 
such truths as these dwell frequently in our meditations. Let us realize 
them by faith ; and they will excite both our hopes and fears. They 
will take hold of the weakness and strength of our nature ; they will 
raise us from spiritual sloth, and urge us on in the way of God's com- 

The second thing proposed this morning to be at present considered, 
was, the glorious hope which has such a great influence upon our con- 
duct as Christians.. This is that part of our text to which your attention 
is now directed. The transformation of the human body, at the second 
coming of Jesus Christ, is the subject of the present discourse. It is 
connected with other subjects, in which we have a deep and eternal 
interest. It constitutes one of the peculiarities of the Gospel, and, at 
the same time, is one of its glories. It is peculiar to the Gospel to 
teach, that the human body shall rise ; and that, with respect to good 
men, that body shall be transformed, and made like unto the body of 


the Son of God himself: " Man lieth down, and riseth not till the hea- 
vens be no more." We should not have known, that, when the heavens 
are no more, we should rise again, but for the revelation of the Bible. 
It is true, the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body, 
were both parts of primitive theology ; but one was soon lost, and the 
other greatly corrupted. Paganism cherished, amidst its corruptions, 
a firm belief that the mind was immortal. It recognized in man an 
undying principle ; and assigned that principle to a place of happiness 
or misery, or employed it in a variety of transmigrations. But in every 
system of paganism, the doctrine of the resurrection of the body was 
omitted. This was something too hard, too difficult to conceive ; and 
therefore, when St. Paul preached at Athens " Jesus and the resur- 
rection" of the dead, " some mocked ; and others said, We will hear 
thee again of this matter." In every other system except Christianity, 
one half of man must perish, and perish for ever. People attended 
their dead relations to the grave, and sorrowed as men without hope. 
To the pains of separation were added the sorrows of despair ; but life 
and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel. Death may con- 
tinue its ravages ; one generation after another may be embosomed in 
the grave ; but the hour will arrive when Jesus Christ, whom we look 
for, shall again come from heaven ; when he shall appear and operate 
as the Resurrection and the Life ; when this promise shall be fulfilled, 
" Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they 
arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust : for thy dew is as the 
dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead," Isaiah xxvi, 1 9. 
For " we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ," from heaven, 
" who shall change our vile body, and fashion it like unto his glorious 
body." As though the apostle intended to heighten this subject by 
contrast, he calls our attention to the present condition of the human 
body. It is a " vile" one ; the body of our humiliation, or, our humbled 
body : " Who shall change this humbled body." With great truth this 
appellation may be used. 

1. In the first place, we must be reminded of our sinful condition. 
What brought death into the world, but sin ? Our first father sinned, 

and the germ of bodily immortality perished with him. His children 
are born in his own likeness. It is so determined, that death passed 
upon all, for that all have sinned. Every pain we feel, every death we 
witness, ought to remind us of this humbling consideration, that we are 
sinners. These circumstances did not arise out of the original inten- 
tion of God concerning us, but were introduced into the world by the 
sin of man. 

2. Our body may well be called a body of humiliation, for another 
reason : the body, as well as the spirit, is the seat of sin. 

The appetites, and passions, and tempers, connected with the evil 
principle, form the body of sin, under the dominion of which men in 
general labour ; and, with the apostle, they may call it, " the body of 
this death," For this reason, men who live under the influence of evil 
principles and passions are said to be in the flesh. " They that are in 
the flesh cannot please God." Even after conversion, and when a 
moral change is wrought in the powers of the mind, there is a war 
between the flesh and the spirit. " The body is dead, because of sin." 
Jt is the seat of many temptations, and of much evil. St. Paul him- 


self found it necessary to say, " I keep my body under, lest, after 
preaching to others, I myself should be a castaway." 

3. It is the both' of our humiliation, when we consider the immense 
labour that is necessary to provide for its wants. 

Its present state is a deeply-humbled one in this respect, that so 
little a portion of our time can be spared for the cultivation of the in- 
tellectual powers, or for intercourse with God, and in obtaining a pre- 
paration for another world. Those employments which are most 
delightful, and those exercises which are so necessary, are carried into 
the accidental spaces that our leisure will allow. Is it not an humbling 
consideration, that so much time, so much effort, so much care, so 
much physical and moral power is required, in order to supply the 
wants of our earthly frame ; when, at the same time, the mind of man 
is capable, not only of ranging at will through the whole material 
creation, and of tracing at every step the displays of the Creator's 
power and wisdom and goodness, but of hoLding sensible communion 
with God in acts of religious worship, and of even doing his will upon 
the earth as the angels do in heaven ? Man, intelligent and immortal, 
made for thought and for God, is doomed, in providing food and raiment 
for his inferior nature, to employ the greater part of his time in severe 
and wasting labour. O sad effect of sin ! 

4. It is a body of humiliation, if we consider it as a clog to our 

It is a hinderance to those richest feelings, of which the human heart 
is capable, — feelings of devotion. We cannot, at best, rise very high 
id this present state ; and devotion cannot be continued for any long 
period of time. See an instance of this in the case of the disciples. 
If ever they were introduced into a scene where they would be 
impressed with the evil of sin, it was at that period when they went to 
the garden with their Lord ; when he went to drink the cup which the 
justice of God put into his hand ; yet, at that time, so great a hinderance 
was the body, that the disciples fell asleep, while their Master was 
offering up prayers, with strong crying and tears. He said to them, 
" What, could not ye watch one hour ?" but immediately, with that 
kindness and compassion so habitual to him, he said, " The spirit, 
indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak." 

5. This body of our humiliation must be still farther humbled by 

All our light shall be quenched in darkness ; all our animation shall 
be chilled ; all our beauty shall wither. " Give me,'" says Abraham to 
the sons of Heth, " a place where I may bury my dead out of my sight." 
The dead here referred to was once his beloved Sarah. The bereaved 
husband cannot bear the sight of even her remains, when once the 
spirit is fled ; so deep is the state of humiliation to which they are 

These observations may serve to illustrate the sentiment in the text, 
— that the body in the present state is an humbled body. 

II. The apostle calls us to the contemplation of that glorious scene 
which is peculiar to Christianity. He proceeds to set before us the 
resurrection and transformation of this humbled body. This vile and 
humbled body shall be fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body. 

Of course this implies the doctrine of the resurrection ; that doctrine 


at which the wise men of Athens scoffed, and said, " We will hear thee 
again of this matter ;" that doctrine, the stumbling block of all the 
heathen, who called it the hope of a worm. They knew not that God, 
in his mercy, had given to a worm this glorious hope through Jesus 

1. We have here the fact of the resurrection. 

On this subject, and before I introduce the Scriptural proofs of it, it 
may be necessary to observe, that the Scriptures teach us that the same 
body shall rise again. " Who shall change this humbled body ;" this 
body, not another. It is impossible for us to say in what the indentity 
of the human body consists. However ridiculous the supposition, we 
are taught by philosophers that the body changes its substance as it 
passes through different periods of life. Of this, however, there is no 
proof. It is not the same body, say some, but a similar body, that shall 
be raised again. But unless the same body were to be raised, the term 
resurrection would be an absurdity. The term signifies, to rise again. 
That which has been laid down must be taken up. For God to give 
us a new body, one which the spirit never inhabited, would not be a 
resurrection but a creation. The same body, from which the spirit has 
been separated by death, must be re-entered by that spirit ; and in order 
to that the body must rise again. The subject is encompassed with 
difficulties, but no difficulties should be placed against the express reve- 
lation of the word of God. 

The doctrine of the resurrection is set forth by a variety of Scriptural 

(1.) The first proof of it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ himself. 

For, observe how the sacred writers conceive of that fact, as one 
connected with a train of most important consequences ; and especially 
as connected with the resurrection of the whole human race. Hence 
we are told that Jesus Christ is " the first fruits of them that slept ;" 
in allusion to the Jewish rite of taking the first sheaf that was reaped 
at the commencement of the harvest, and presenting it before the Lord 
in his sanctuary, in acknowledgment that he is the God of the harvest. 
It was presented also as the first fruits of the general harvest just about 
to be reaped. So when Jesus Christ rose, he ascended into heaven, 
and appeared in a human body in the courts above. " Now is Christ 
risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." — 
The resurrection of the bodies of men is founded on the same evidence 
as the resurrection of the body of Jesus. Go and search the tomb of 
Christ, and see in his vacated sepulchre an infallible pledge that your 
graves shall give you up, and that you, if believers in him, shall be 
gathered in the general harvest. 

(2.) We have another proof in the extent of redemption. 

Redemption is the payment of a price, in order to liberate a captive. 
This idea attaches to the sacrifice of Christ. The redemption is two- 
fold, — virtual and actual. Virtual redemption is redemption by price. 
Actual redemption is redemption in fact ; a claiming of the captive. — 
With respect to the human spirit, the redemption is actual as well as 
virtual. In this world we are redeemed from the power of sin, Satan, 
and the hands of justice. The redemption of the body is not actual, but 
only virtual ; but a time will come when it will actually be delivered, 
when the captives of the grave shall be claimed. Redemption extends 


to the body, as well as to the soul. This is evident from what the 
apostle says : " Ye are not your own, but are bought with a price ; 
therefore glorify God with your body, and with your spirit, which are 
God's." " We wait for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." 
" In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the 
Gospel of our salvation ; in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were 
sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our 
inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession." Christ 
cannot lose his own. The bodies of the saints, as well as their souls, 
have been purchased by him. Their members, though dissolved by 
death, are still written in his book ; their dust lies numbered in his 
hand ; and the time will come when it shall be raised again. 

(3.) There is another proof of this doctrine, and it is also a Scriptu- 
ral proof: for I bring no argument from reason ; the resurrection of 
the body being exclusively a doctrine of revelation. The proof I mean 
is the necessary punishment of the wicked. They shall rise again to 
receive their full punishment. Both the body and the soul have sinned, 
and both body and soul must be punished. " Fear not him that can kill 
the body ; but fear him who is able to cast both body and soul into hell ; 
yea, I say unto you, Fear him." 

(4.) Another proof is the application of the term " sleep" to death in 
the New Testament. 

The delightful ideas suggested by that term were never before intro- 
duced into the human mind in regard to the dead. It well became the 
apostle to adopt, under the full impression of the resurrection, a word 
which is expressive of that relation to a blessed immortality which 
every believer bears. Removal from this world is no longer death to 
the Christian ; and the Scriptures call it " sleep." So Stephen " fell 
asleep." " Them that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." This 
is a delightful view of the death of the saints. Death to them seems 
to be the means of collecting new vigour for the morning of the resur- 
rection. As the spirit during sleep goes into delightful scenes, till 
recalled by the dawn of the morning, so the separate spirits of the 
saints go into the joys of the paradise of God, till their mortal dust is 
quickened by the resurrection. 

(5.) It is established, likewise, by the great designation of Jesus 

" He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet ; and the 
last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Without the resurrection 
these words could not be accomplished : " death, I will be thy plagues ; 
grave, I will be thy destruction." It is true, that death reigned from 
Adam to Moses. Rachels had to weep for their children ; but there is 
a limit to these scenes of wo. The time specified by Job must come : 
" Man lieth down, and riseth not till the heavens are no more." The 
time will come when the heavens shall be no more ; when the voice 
of God shall be heard, and the dead shall arise. From that moment 
there shall be no more death. That is a delightful sound to all who 
have the hope mentioned in the text ; but it is calculated to excite most 
dreadful alarms in those who are not living for eternity. If there is a 
heaven of heavens, so there is a hell of hells. There will be no shelter 
from the beatings of infinite justice ; neither annihilation of the spirit, 
nor any other sanctuary. 


After the resurrection, or along with the resurrection, there shall be 
a transformation of the bodies of the saints. The promise of the text 
is peculiar to the saints : " Who shall change our vile body, and fashion 
it like unto his glorious body." Observe the model : it is the body of 
Jesus Christ ; not as born of Mary ; not as he appeared among the Jews, 
when the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us ; not as it 
appeared between the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into 
heaven, but after his ascension. That suddenly took place, probably 
when the disciples were gazing after him, and the clouds were receiv- 
ing him out of their sight. We are not without some representations 
of the glory of the body of Christ. To the mount of transfiguration, to 
Mount Tabor, Jesus took some of his disciples. His countenance be- 
came shining as the sun, and his raiment became white as snow, from 
the beamings of his body through his garments. The disciples, in an 
ecstasy of feeling, cried out, " Master, it is good to be here." 

St. Paul himself had a view of it, in the career of his persecution. 
He was arrested by Jesus on his way to Damascus. The sun was 
shining in the cloudless brilliancy of an Asiatic sky ; but there was 
seen a light beyond the brightness of the mid-day sun. He fell at the 
feet of his Lord, and said, " What wilt thou have me to do ?" 

We have another representation in the vision of Jesus Christ, shown 
to John in Patmos : " I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard 
a voice saying, I am Alpha and Omega : and I turned to see the voice 
that spake with me ; and I saw one like unto the Son of man, clothed 
with a garment down to the foot. His eyes were as a flame of fire ; 
and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace : and I 
fell at his feet as dead." 

Yet these were but faint representations of the glorified humanity 
of Jesus, who is to be the great Pattern and Exemplar to which the 
transformation of the saints is to be conformed. 

What does it imply? 

That there shall be no more death ; for Jesus Christ, having died 
once, dies no more. The immortality of the body, as well as the soul, 
is secured by this declaration : " Because I live, ye shall live also." — 
The cup of trembling shall no more be put into the hand. After you 
have died you never. can have the conflict again ; for, though death be 
an enemy, yet, let it be remembered, it is the last, for " there shall be 
no more death." 

I infer from the conformity of the bodies of the saints to the body of 
Jesus Christ, that there can be no deformity. 

Deformity in the countenance is sometimes the effect of sin, some- 
times of accident. Whatever bad expression is in the countenance, it 
is the result of the indulgence of evil passions. They acquire such 
strength as to write themselves in the countenances of men. Every 
deformity must give place, inasmuch as the great model is the glorious 
body of Jesus Christ. The bodies of the saints shall all be perfect ; 
while the countenance will yield to the impressions of the hallowed 
spirit, beaming with love ; at peace with itself, and with every thing 
around it ; and at peace with Cod. 

This conformity of the body to Jesus Christ supposes that the exces- 
sive care, necessary for the support of the body, shall then exist no 
more. The necessity for occupying so much of our time in providing 


for the body will no longer exist. The appetites, the passions, and the 
wants of these bodies of ours, must cease. We are then to be like the 
angels of God. Though an eternity is given us for our existence, yet 
not a moment shall be abstracted from its infinity to bestow upon 
the body. 

It also follows, that, if the bodies of the saints are to be fashioned 
like unto Christ's glorious body, they shall be assistants, and no longer 
hinderances, to the operations of the deathless spirit. It shall never again 
be said that " the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." The noble 
inhabitant shall not have a tent to dwell in, but a house from heaven. 
Such a change will pass on the body, as to render it no obstruction to 
the rapid operations of the spirit. We shall move without weariness ; 
we shall think without exhaustion, and without check or restraint. 

All this is illustrated to us by St. Paul himself, in a chapter you 
have often read : 1 Cor. xv : " Some men will say, How are the dead 
raised up, and with what bodies do they come ?" I think a part of this 
chapter is often misunderstood. It is generally supposed, by those who 
have not thought particularly on the subject, to be designed to prove the 
doctrine of the resurrection. It has been thought that the apostle enters 
into proofs of the doctrine of the resurrection drawn from vegetation ; that 
he is giving proofs of it from analogies supplied by natural things. He 
does no such thing. He never could do it. He was too wise a man to 
attempt it. He knew it rested on the testimony of Jesus, and not on any 
thing in nature. To deduce from reason the doctrine of the resurrec- 
tion, is left to half-infidel divines. All he does here is to illustrate the 
fact expressed in the text. His object is to show the difference be- 
tween the resurrection body, and the body in its present state. The 
whole of what follows is an answer to the question, How, in what way, 
in what form, are the dead raised up, and with what kind of body shall 
they come 1 In the first place he tells us that the present body is like 
seed cast into the earth, and rotting in corruption ; but the resurrection 
body shall be like the same seed when it has sprung up, and appears 
a perfect plant, waving in the wind, and invested with foliage and 
beauty. As great a difference as there is between the plant and the 
seed, so great a difference shall there be between the glorified body, 
and the body in its present humbled condition. He tells us, likewise, 
" All flesh is not the same flesh." His intention here is, to teach us 
that God, of the same matter, makes some bodies different from others. 
There are some terrestrial, and some celestial. In some matter the 
body is so formed as to appear sparkling, as will be the resurrection 
body. " There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon ;" 
and as great a difference as there is between the glory of a twinkling 
star, and the full-orbed sun, so great a difference is there between the 
body that now is, and the body that shall be. The matter which forms 
our present humbled body shall be made glorious ; as much superior 
in beauty as the plant is to the seed ; as much superior in glory as the 
sun is to a star. He therefore goes on, " It is sown in dishonour, it is 
raised in glory. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot 
inherit the kingdom of God ; neither doth corruption inherit incorrup- 
tion." I know some persons have made use of this expression as an 
argument against the resurrection of the same body ; but in great igno- 
rance. What the apostle meant to say, was, not that the same body 


should not inherit the kingdom of God, but that the same body, formed 
of flesh and blood, could not inherit it. Flesh and blood, our present 
gross body, cannot inherit the kingdom of God ; the same matter must 
be re-fashioned. ." It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption ;" 
so quick, so active, so imperishable, that in some sense it may be call- 
ed a body of spirit. Thus he will " change our vile body." 

III. The means by which all this is effected is here specified : 
" According to the working by which he is able to subdue all things 
unto himself." 

Doubtless the apostle introduced this to answer all objections. 
There are many philosophical objections to the doctrine of the resur- 
rection from the dead. We might amuse you by mentioning these ob- 
jections, and the answers usually given ; but I shall not do it, because 
I do not sanction the principle of philosophizing on a pure subject of 
revelation. Is it not enough that we are conducted in a straight line to 
the great end to which we are to come ? The power of God answers 
all objections. This removes all difficulties. The great question is, 
whether the doctrine be a doctrine of revelation ; if so, its truth follows 
of course. To say that the resurrection implies a contradiction, is to 
say God has formed a world to frustrate his own purposes. Certainly 
matter, in all its forms, is so arranged by God, who sees the end from the 
beginning, that when he gives the word to raise the human body, there 
cannot possibly be any obstacle ; for it is done by that God who is able 
to do all things. We refer all to the power of God ; the whole is a 
miracle. If it is true that this book is true, then can the resurrection 
of the dead imply no contradiction. That would be to charge the Au- 
thor of nature with folly. Who dare say that the power of God can- 
not effect it ? I have no hesitation in saying that the power of God 
does things as great every day. The only difference between these 
daily occurrences and a miracle, is, that the miracle does not occur 
every day. It is as great a miracle that men breathe, or that the sun 
rises, as that the dead body shall be raised. It is as great a miracle 
that men exist now, as that they shall exist again. In order to remove 
skepticism, he has filled all nature with continual emblems of this doc- 
trine. God has given a great number of illustrations in the arrange- 
ments of nature and providence. What is night but the death of day ? 
What is morning but its resurrection from the shades of darkness ? 
What is winter but the death of the year 1 In the dead leaves you see 
emblems of death scattered wherever you go. What is spring but a 
resurrection ? Look at that unsightly seed, without any appearance 
of life, thrown into the earth ; and then the particles separating, there 
springs up a plant ! Behold it unfolding, and budding, and blossoming, 
and casting its fragrance all around : that is its resurrection. We see 
the insect tribe give their evidence ; living frequently and absolutely 
in different states and elements ; sometimes crawling, as a worm ; then 
lying in apparent torpor ; then bursting the shell, and with wings of 
beauty and activity skimming the atmosphere. Go, then, let philoso- 
phy go, and ask how the body, crumbled into a million of atoms, some 
sublimed by fire, some transmitted into plants and animals, can arise ? 
Let skepticism ask, doubtingly, " Can the jaws of death relent ? Can 
the grave give up her dead ? Can the grave be our dressing room ?" 
Let these questions be asked, and they are all answered by the decla- 


ration of the text, " Through the working of that power, by which he 
is able to subdue even all things unto himself." 

We ought to be reminded that there will be a resurrection both of 
the just and of the unjust. But there will be no glorious body for the 
sinner. The saints will first have a resurrection ; the others will 
steal from their graves. The wicked will be all dragged from their 
graves, — dragged by the messengers of wrath to the throne of judg- 
ment ; while every fearful feeling, all the malignity of spirit, unchanged 
by Divine grace, all that strong and painful horror that will arise from 
reflecting upon their condition, will be expressed in every lineament 
of their countenances. Well may we say, " Gather not my soul with 
sinners, nor my life with bloody men." Let us not be found with that 
rejected throng. When we open our eyes on the morning of the re- 
surrection, may we behold a smiling Judge ! 

It becomes us to aspire to as much of the glory of the future state 
as can be attained. We approach the nearest in this world to the 
perfection of heaven when we most completely gain a victory over the 
body. " I keep my body under subjection," said the apostle, " lest 
when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway." 
It is a body of humiliation : let vis give it as little a portion of our 
time as we can ; let us learn to live for other purposes. Much time 
and attention it must occupy; but how much time and attention are often 
paid to earthly things, that might be paid to things that are heavenly ! 
O let us stir up our minds ; and let us pray to have the victory over 
every irregular appetite ; and let the higher part of our nature have 
the predominance ! 

What encouragement this subject affords us on the loss of our 
friends ! Let others sorrow as those without hope ; but when you are 
called to attend to their graves the remains of friends you love, recol- 
lect the great doctrine of Christianity is, " We shall meet again." 
Well might the apostle say, "Wherefore comfort one another with 
these words." 

The subject ought to fortify our minds against the fear of death. 
The great object of the religion of Christ was, to " deliver them who 
through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." You 
cannot fear it, if you can say v/ith the apostle, " I know whom I have 
trusted ; and he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him 
against that day." Not only our spirits are secure, but our bodies like- 
wise. A passage shall be opened to glory, honour, immortality, and 
eternal life. We may say with David, " Whom have I in heaven 
but thee ? and there is none upon earth I desire in comparison with 
thee." Mark the ground : " For when my heart and flesh fail, thou 
wilt be the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." What is 
death to a man with such hopes ? He shall not cease to live. Death 
is merely the interruption of life ; merely its parenthesis ; — the narra- 
tive still runs on. The way to heaven is opened ; it is sanctified by 
Jesus. Who that realizes views of this kind can be reluctant to leave 
the world 1 There is not a Christian, as soon as God makes him 
ready, that is reluctant to leave the world ? There is not a Christian 
who, as soon as God makes him ready to leave this world, can regret 
to leave it. He only wishes to live here for the sake of others, or for 
promoting his own moral improvement. He longs to be dissolved, and 


to be with Christ, which is far better. He says, " Whom have I in 
heaven but thee ? When my flesh and my heart fail, God is the strength 
of my heart, and my portion for ever." God grant you all this grace, 
for Christ's sake. Amen. 

Sermon XX.^— The Destroying Angel Arrested. 
Preached at the opening of a Chapel. 

" And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward 
him : and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon 
the ground. And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his ser- 
vant ? And David said, To buy the threshing floor of thee, to build an altaf 
unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Araunah 
said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto- 
him : behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and 
other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a 
king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God 
accept thee. And the king said unto Araunah, Nay ; but I will surely buy it of 
thee at a price : neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that 
which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen 
for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and 
offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the 
land, and the plague was stayed from Israel," 2 Sam. xxiv, 20-25. 

David had been conducted, by a series of striking providences, to 
the throne of Israel. The house of Saul had fallen before him ; the' 
rebellion of Absalom had been put down ; the nation, settled in peace 
under his government, became powerful and wealthy, great in arms and 
fertile in resources ; all appearances were favourable to a long con- 
tinuance of prosperity to the nation, and satisfaction to the monarch. 

If we knew how to enjoy our blessings in the fear of God, they would 
be continued unto us ; but it is the sin of man, that he extracts, even 
from the mercies of God, the poison which destroys his comforts : he 
grows fat upon the bounty of Heaven, spurns its laws, and awakens its 

This was the case with the Israelites at the period to which our text 
refers. The particular crimes of which they were guilty are not 
specified ; but the anger of God was kindled against them ; and he is 
never angry without a cause ; and he never punishes until mercy has 
attempted the reformation and repentance of the criminal in vain. 

It is probable their sin was a general forgetfulness of God, and a 
vain confidence in the strength, numbers, and valour of the nation ; for 
with this feeling of national vanity David was affected. This led him 
to listen to a temptation to number the people ; and this was the imme- 
diate cause of the punishment which followed. We are not to suppose 
that the people were punished for David's sin in numbering them : he 
Mas punished in their punishment. He saw the numbers in which he 
boasted thinned by the destroying angel ; the subjects he loved falling 
victims to a plague he had no power to avert ; his own pride humbled 
by his nothingness in the hand of God. But they were punished for 


their own sin ; the immediate cause was an act of David : Satan, as 
it is explicitly declared in the book of Chronicles, had tempted him to 
number the people ; but that act could not have been followed by a 
general punishment, had not they been guilty, had not God been angry 
with them. 

The time was come when punishment could be no longer delayed ; 
and the pestilence received its commission. Seventy thousand men 
died from Dan to Beersheba ; and that the judgment might be known 
to proceed from God, an angel was made visible, with a drawn sword, 
directing, by his terrible agency, the vengeance and the death. He 
approaches Jerusalem ; the thronged population of the metropolis is 
menaced ; when, at the command of the Prophet Gad, David proceeds 
to erect an altar in the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. There 
the angel stood ; and where the danger was, there the remedy was ap- 
plied. The text presents us with the conversation between the generous 
Jebusite and David in this emergency ; the one proposing to give the 
threshing floor, and that freely, on so pressing and religious an occa- 
sion, and the other refusing to offer what cost him nothing. At length 
the altar was erected, and the plague was stayed ; the blood of atone- 
ment disarmed the anger of God, and he looked again with favour upon 
his people. 

This history is not inapplicable to our present meeting. The pre- 
valence of sin, and the approach of punishment, the death of some, of 
many, and the danger of the rest, called for an altar and sacrifices ; 
the altar was built, sacrifices were offered, and the plague was stayed. 
We, too, have erected an altar. Because iniquity abounds, because 
thousands have perished for lack of knowledge, and thousands more 
are in the same perishing condition, we have set up a house for God. 
On this altar, it is true, no sacrifices will be offered ; but the one true 
Sacrifice will be exhibited. The fountain of life and salvation will be 
opened, and we trust that, by the mercy of God, and your prayers, the 
plague may be stayed. 

These ideas we shall collect again in the progress of our discourse ; 
but we shall first take a somewhat comprehensive range of observation. 

The history indicates to us, 

I. The strict regard paid by the Almighty to the conduct of his 

This is a consideration which ought ever to impress our minds. — 
The want of it is one of the causes of the misconduct of men. All are 
not openly infidels ; they do not deny a God ; nor do they allow his 
existence, and deny his omniscience. All do not confine him to his 
own heaven, and make it part of his greatness and grandeur to avert 
his eyes from earth. All do not make him indifferent to sin, and say, 
with the unbelief of those of old, " The Lord shall not see, neither shall 
the God of Jacob regard it." But though we may not say this, we may 
be influenced by the very principle from which it proceeds. All who 
sin forget God ; act as though there were no God, or he had no omni- 
science, or that he is indifferent to their conduct. 

To awaken us to a consciousness of the regard he pays to our ac- 
tions, to his ever-bending, ever-watchful eye, it is, that he has so often 
specially interposed to punish sin, and in a manner which could leave 
no doubt of his agency. For this, among other purposes, the histories 


in the Old Testament have been preserved ; that, observing the dis- 

Elays of his power and justice, we might " sanctify the Lord in our 
earts," and that the whole earth might " tremble and keep silence 
before him." 

On this subject, the history before us is instructive, not only in the 
general principle, but in many important particulars. Does any one 
suppose, that because he is but an individual, one amidst the myriads 
of the human race, he shall pass in the crowd, and escape the notice 
of his Judge ? Let him learn that David was an individual, yet his 
individual sin was noticed, dragged to light, reproved, and punished. — 
Is it again supposed, — for error loves contraries, — that, however God 
may govern individuals, nations are ruled on other principles ? We 
learn that God was angry against Israel. His whole dealings with that 
people show that he has the same rule for communities as for the per- 
sons who compose them ; and we are therefore instructed that we have 
a common concern in the morality and in the religion of our land ; and 
that we are called to counteract vice, and seek the conversion of men 
by all the means which God has instituted, — by supporting the ministry 
by the erection of places of worship, by our example, our reproofs, and 
our prayers. 

Is it ever whispered in our ears, that only gross and open sins pro- 
voke the anger of God 1 The subject before us will discountenance 
that destructive error. Both Israel and David were punished for sins 
of the heart. We have no reason to conclude that the people were 
grossly wicked. No idolatry, no open vice, is charged upon them. — 
The crimes of the prince and of the people appear to have been the 
same, — pride, self confidence, and forgetfulness of God. Let us, then, 
watch our hearts ; and let us know that nothing but the conversion of 
our whole nature can take us out of the reach of danger. If, again, as 
we are prone to speak peace where there is no peace, and flatter our- 
selves that because of the religious privileges we enjoy, and even the 
existence of a considerable share of religion among us, we shall meet 
with exemptions from punishment ; in this particular also the subject 
will guard us from false conclusions. Who was David but God's chosen 
prince ? Who were Israel but God's chosen people ? Had they not 
the fathers, the glory, and the covenants ? Was not the tabernacle of 
God at that time in Gibeon ? that pledge of his presence and protection ? 
Yet against this people God awoke his vengeance. Who, then, are 
we ? We have the Gospel, the name, and even the power of Christ. 
We have holy Churches and faithful ministers ; we have zeal, and we 
have charity ; we have missionary societies and Bible societies ; but 
I sometimes fear lest even these blessings, these privileges, these pious 
acts, should be the source of a vain confidence : we think ourselves, 
probably, much better than we are. If we have the Gospel, how many 
make light of it ! — if holy Churches, unholy ones ! — if faithful ministers, 
unfaithful ones ! If in benevolent societies there is a happy combina- 
tion of the wise and good, let us remember that hand joins in hand 
among the wicked on a more extensive scale than among the good. — ■ 
You crowd our houses of worship on the Lord's day ; but how many 
do you leave behind ! You rejoice in the accents of prayer and praise ; 
but do you remember the song of the drunkard, the laugh of the trifler, 
the filthy conversation of the obscene, and the blasphemy of the impious ? 


For, ah ! very far are we from being a righteous people ! God is angry 
with us. The plague of sin is gone forth, and the plague of punishment 
must follow. Myriads of evil thoughts and purposes, of evil words and 
actions, rise up every moment to plead against us at the bar of justice. 
And let no man say, " We have Abraham to our father." Our religious 
privileges only prove our greater guilt. The souls of men are perish- 
ing ; dangers of the greatest magnitude surround Our fellow men ; and 
because God is a just and jealous observer of men, we are called to 
fear for ourselves, and to be impressed with the necessity of exerting 
ourselves to rescue others. 

II. We are instructed by the history to consider sin as an evil fol- 
lowed by the most disastrous consequences. 

The pride, and forgetfulness of God, of which David and his people 
were guilty, might appear, if sins at alh sins of a very venial kind, the 
common infirmities of human nature ; yet they were followed by the 
dreadful choice of evils mentioned in verse 13, and with the destruction 
of seventy thousand persons. One of the most fatal habits of mind is. 
to treat sin lightly, or with indifference. It is exhibited as a mark of 
eminent folly. " Fools make a mock at sin ;" and it may be regarded 
as an infallible indication of a declining state of religion among the 
professors of Christianity, when the ideas of sin and misery are in any 
degree separated from each other, and sinners cease to excite com- 
miseration, because their danger is no longer contemplated. All the 
great characters that adorn the sacred page, and who stood forth in their 
day to reform and reprove mankind, are represented as deeply im- 
pressed with the destructive evil of sin, and tenderly concerned to stop 
its ravages. Lot was vexed in spirit with the filthy conversation of 
the men of Sodom. Moses prayed that his own name might be blotted 
out of God's book rather than the people should perish. Horror took 
hold of David, and rivers of water ran down the eyes of Jeremiah, 
because men kept not the law. Jesus, in whom every species of ex- 
cellence was pre-eminent, has given us a most affecting example of 
this tenderness : he wept over Jerusalem, and lamented that the people 
knew not the things belonging to their peace. The apostles caught 
his spirit ; and, " knowing the terrors of the Lord," they " persuaded 

This spirit has always preceded, and indeed given birth to great re 
vivals of religion, and animated the instruments by which they were 
effected. What urged the Wesleys and their coadjutors to labours 
more abundant than those of their fellows, and impelled them to every 
corner of this land, holding up the word of life, the beacon of safety, 
but a serious conviction of the penal consequences of sin, and com- 
passion for dying men ? And what urges now the missionary to burn- 
ing or freezing climes, to deserts and wildernesses, to sufferings and 
deaths, but the same principle ? Knowing the terrors of the Lord, 
possessed of a faith which sees the awful realities of an unseen world, 
contemplating men by the light of eternity, and seeing, in every sin 
they commit, whatever lustre of interest, pleasure, or custom may be 
cast over it, the envenomed dart of everlasting death, they spring 

"With cares, entreaties, tears, to save, 
And snatch them from the gaping grave." 
Vol. I. 17 


In proportion as this sentiment decays, — and decay it will, if eternal 
things lose their hold on our minds, — the work of God declines ; the 
means of counteracting the destructive progress of sin are neglected ; 
the plague rages, but no one erects an altar to arrest its progress; the 
building of places of worship is neglected ; men dwell in their own 
ceiled houses, but forget to lay the foundations, or carry up the walls 
of the temple of God. It is perhaps a great effort of zeal to keep up 
old institutions ; but be sure the spirit is too weak to catch the tone of 
circumstances, and to devise new measures, to meet the exigencies of 
the Church, and the salvation of men. This want of zeal for God, 
and want of love for men, has been the ruin of all the Churches that 
have ever fallen ; and we ought, therefore, with assiduity, to watch 
against it ; for as it prevails the ground which the burning charity of 
good men has gained from the world and sin is lost. It was gained by 
the lofty deeds of Christian heroism, and it is lost by supine and 
yawning carelessness. The vanquished enemies of God and truth 
rally; and when the victors-think them dispersed, and at a distance, 
they avail themselves of this folly, and seize even upon the camp ! 

To rouse us, therefore, to such exertions as our own profession and 
the dangers of our fellow men demand, we ought frequently and deeply 
to meditate on the destructive consequences of sin ; and of these the 
subject presents an affecting picture. But is it necessary, in order to 
kindle in our hearts a proper degree of zeal, that we should see an 
angel with the sword of vengeance drawn over our towns and villages ? 
must plagues and famines be sent, to awaken us to a just concern for 
the salvation of men 1 As creatures prone to walk by sight, and to 
be led by our senses and present interests, these occurrences would, 
doubtless, very deeply impress us. yes ! were we to see our dead 
lying in our fields ; did we witness, in the solitude of our streets, the 
wide wastes of disease ; were our friends, instead of dropping gradu- 
ally, and in a manner which might prepare us for their loss, to be 
carried away as by a flood, what heart would not be rent, what eye 
remain unmoistened ? If, then, it were revealed to us that to stop this 
plague, to arrest this stroke, altars must be built, houses erected to 
God, public worship better observed, sinners urged to reformation, how 
many would bring their offerings to build the altar ! how many would 
say to the builders, as Araunah to David, " The Lord accept thee !" 
how many would cry to the wicked, and spare not, " Turn ye ; why 
will ye die ?" And, my brethren, why should we not do all this at 
present ? Are pestilences and plagues the only consequences of sin ? 
Is it by these only that God avenges his cause ? Are these the only 
paths to ruin ? Ah, no ! whether the destroying angel bares his sword 
in sight or not, he is awfully active in his commission ; though the 
pestilence should not walk in darkness, nor the arrow fly by noon day, 
the state of men, the state of your town, presents sad and serious 
cause for sympathy and exertions. How many hearts does sin this 
moment wring with anguish ! how many consciences are up in arms 
against the peace of their possessors ! how fatally does error spread 
her wiles for the understandings, and vice her snares and pitfalls for 
the passions of your neighbours ! Look into the families which sur- 
round you ; what disorder, and wretchedness, and vice, do they present ! 
Look at your Sabbaths, and mark how they are profaned ! your streets, 


and behold the scenes of lewdness, and dissipation ! at your seamen, 
and ask how many of them rush to a dangerous employment, where 
their lives are in constant jeopardy, defying God and blaspheming his 
holy name : and if these things do not move us, let us go a step fer- 
ther^ and, with feelings as serious as the cause demands, let us ask 
how many souls are daily borne away from this town in the ordinary 
course of mortality, into the presence of God, in whose death no hope 
can scripturally be entertained ; and how many are following to the 
same dreadful result, on the verge, on the brink of the pit ! What ! 
can the destroying angel be more visible than this ? Do you want 
more certain demonstration of the " exceeding sinfulness of sin," of 
the danger which follows it? Certainly not. 0, then, let us set up 
this altar to God, this day, in faith toward God, and compassion to dying 
men ; and may the wickedness of the wicked, by the means here used, 
be brought to an end, and the plague be stayed ! 

III. The history also exhibits to us the only means of forgiveness 
and escape from punishment. The altar was built unto the Lord : 
" David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings ; so the Lord was 
entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed.'' In other words, 
sin was expiated by the intervention of a sacrifice. 

This is the doctrine of every book of Scripture, of every age, and 
of every nation ; and we wish particularly to fix your attention on this 
subject, both for your present edification, and because this doctrine, 
and those immediately consequent upon it, will be the doctrines which, 
will be delivered from this pulpit, and which will enter more or less 
into all the services of this chapel. 

Let us, then, observe that the testimony of the Church of God, from 
every age, is, that the anger of Him whom we have offended can only 
be propitiated, and that he only can be approached by sacrifice. When 
man became a sinner, then an altar marked the place in which he 
worshipped, and his offering was a bloody sacrifice. When Noah left 
the ark, his first act was to erect an altar, to reconcile God to a world 
which bore so many marks of his wrath ; and at the smell of the sweet 
savour of the offerings, He gave the promise, " I will no more curse 
the ground for man's sake." When the first-born of Egypt fell beneath 
the stroke of the angel, it was the blood of the lamb sprinkled upon 
the door posts that guarded in safety the offspring of Israel. When 
the plague broke forth against the rebels in the wilderness, Aaron ran 
between the living and the dead with his censer and incense, and the 
plague Was stayed ; but it was incense inflamed by fire from the altar 
of sacrifice. Thus, on ordinary occasions by stated, and on extraor- 
dinary displays of the Divine anger by extraordinary sacrifices, did the 
Church show forth the intended death of the true Sacrifice. In all 
these ages, men guilty and fearful fled to the horns of the altar ; and 
they hid themselves from wrath, under the shadow of their smoking 
sacrifices. At length, however, the Son of God was manifested, and 
Deity became incarnate, that, in a body thus prepared and consecrated, 
he might offer himself a sacrifice unto God, so acceptable, so rich in 
merit, so powerful in efficacy, as to bring the whole sacrificial system 
to an end, by an offering made once for all, and not to be repeated to 
all eternity. This was ever the intention of God. Christ was the 
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, both in the intention of 


God, and in the faith of the patriarchs. For it was him they saw : 
though the promises respecting him were afar off, they were persuaded 
of them and embraced them. Faith stretched its arms through cen- 
turies of time, and held Him as the only ground of all their hope, as 
Simeon held him in his arms. Sense saw the animal victim ; faith saw 
the Seed of the woman : sense beheld only the blood of a lamb ; faith 
beheld blood Divine, the blood of God. And, accordingly, when Christ 
appeared, he became in reality all that the offerings of the law were in 
figure. They were ceremoniously clean ; he was morally clean. To 
them the punishment of sin was transferred in figure ; he really " bore 
our sins in his own body on the tree." Their blood opened the way 
to the holy place ; his opened it to heaven, and opened it for all 

This is our method of salvation ; " we are saved by his blood ;" and 
it is important for us to know that, in this single doctrine of a substi- 
tuted sacrifice, the whole method of our salvation is included. The 
manner in which sacrificial rites were performed illustrates even now 
the method of salvation. The offerer confessed the fact of his offence 
by bringing his victim ; and he that believes in Christ, by assenting to 
this method of expiation, confesses the fact too : " I have sinned, and 
therefore I fly to Christ as my atonement." 

The offerer was prompted by the fear of punishment to slay his 
victim and sprinkle the blood ; so David in the text. If we are pro- 
perly alarmed at our danger, we shall haste to the only refuge of a 
Saviour's bleeding side. He that put an animal to death for his sins 
acknowledged that he deserved in like manner to die ; and it is with 
this sentiment that we ought to approach God, through Christ : we 
must feel that we deserve to suffer all he suffered in the garden and on 
Calvary, for ever. He that offered, however, expressed his faith in 
the efficiency of the divinely-appointed means, looking through the 
type to the thing signified ; and it is by firm and full reliance on the 
merit of the sacrifice of Him who has already died, that we become 
personally interested in his passion and intercession, and are justified 
and accepted. 

Lastly. The sacrifice was the instrument of sanctification ; it sup- 
posed a covenant with God ; the sacrifice was eaten ; the parties were 
made friends ; and sin, which only could make them enemies, was 
renounced for ever. 

Thus, the appointment of sacrifices supposes the confession of sin ; 
a salutary fear of the terrors of a holy God ; a just apprehension of 
the desert of sin, death in its most painful forms ; and a reliance and 
trust in God's appointed means of salvation, and the renunciation of 
all sin, and the recovery of his blessing and friendship. All these are 
taught you and enjoined upon you by the death of Christ ; and on these 
terms we invite you to receive pardon and salvation. " We preach 
Christ crucified." You are sinners, here is the Saviour; you are 
debtors, here is your Surety ; you are guilty, here is the Sacrifice. 
O, offer it up in faith, and be saved from wrath. This is the only way 
of salvation we can direct you to ; and that you might be invited into 
it, this house was erected. Here you will hear these important truths, 
and we hope no other. Were it likely that any other foundation would 
be laid, we should sorrow and not rejoice in the consecration of this 


place this day. No, we would without pain see it crumble into earth, and 
its dust carried away by the winds, if every stone and beam in it did not 
reverberate the joyful tidings. We do not fear. Christ will be known 
in these palaces for a refuge ; and may salvation by faith in him be 
preached here while one stone is left upon another. house of God, 
may no song of praise be ever sung in thee but salvation to God and 
the Lamb ! May no prayer be offered in thee but the prayer of faith 
in his death and intercession ! May the voice of no preachers be 
heard in thee except those who glory in the cross of Christ, and who 
determine to know nothing else among men ! And may thousands, 
who shall successively tread thy floor, sanctified and saved by these 
truths of God, pass through thy courts to those realms of day where 
our songs shall be renewed, and the Lamb, as newly slain, receive the 
prostrate homage of thousands of thousands for ever and ever ! 

IV. We observe, that the erection of this altar, by David, was a 
public act, an act in which the public were interested ; and in this 
respect it agreed with the practice of all ages. The building of an 
altar was ever a public act ; the place was separate from common pur- 
poses ; and it stood as a religious memorial for the instruction of man- 

Tradition speaks of the altars of Adam and Enoch ; but this we know 
on the authority of sacred history, that Abraham and Jacob built altars 
in their journeyings, imposed upon them names expressive of their re- 
ligious application, and left them as witnesses to the truth of God to 
future ages. The same practice existed among the heathen, whose 
altars were public, often built on high places for better observation and 
notice, and had inscriptions or emblems of the deities to whom they 
were dedicated, and thus were considered as a kind of silent teachers 
of their religious opinions. 

The same appropriation and publicity we notice under the law of 
Moses. Where the tabernacle rested, there an altar was built ; and to 
this the whole congregation resorted. At the time David erected this 
altar, the tabernacle of the Lord and the altar of burnt offering were at 
Gibeon, but the occasion required another altar ; and it was built where 
afterward the temple stood to proclaim the honours and the claims of 
Heaven, and near to the place where Christ was lifted up upon the 
cross, and made a public spectacle, that he might draw all men unto 

This appropriation of places to religion, and the erection of altars 
and temples for public resort, speak it as the common and agreeing 
sentiment of all mankind, that such erections were important to the 
preservation of religion, and that the association of men, in acts of re- 
ligious worship, exerted a powerful moral influence upon society. — 
This sentiment is confirmed by the Gospel. We have the Lord's day 
consecrated for religious services ; on that day we are commanded to 
assemble ; and the erection of places of worship must of course follow 
upon the obligation to this duty. In this the wisdom and goodness of 
God are equally manifested ; and on this occasion, when another plaeo 
has been built for religious purposes, it may not be improper briefly to 
notice some of those important moral consequences which follow the 
establishment of the public worship of God. 

1. The erections themselves, and more especially the acts and 


observances of worship, are memorials of religious facts and doc- 

They keep a sense of God upon the minds of men ; they turn the 
thoughts of the public, whether they will or not, to serious subjects.— 
The very sight of a religious erection, of a congregation assembling or 
dismissing, awakens religious ideas ; while the word of God, read and 
preached, is the constant exhibition of the light of truth, amidst the 
darkness of the world. Religious knowledge is thus preserved, reli- 
gious influence is exerted ; bad principles are counteracted, the moral 
standard raised, and society is purified. 

2. Our worship is public, and the places we erect are places of pub- 
lic resort. 

This is an important consideration. In the earliest ages of the world, 
the worship of God seems to have been a kind of family worship, which 
was conducted by the head of the family, who was the priest. Had 
mere family religion only been observed by good men, the important 
end of public instruction could not have been well answered. Truth 
would have been comparatively hidden ; the light would have been 
placed under a bushel ; the city in the valley, not on the hill. Instead 
of Christians holding forth, as they are now commanded, the word of 
life to the wicked, the v/icked would have had to seek out the word of 
life. This, few of them would have done ; they would not have broken 
into the privacy of families, there to join in worship, and to solicit in- 
struction ; and the consequence would have been, that ignorance and 
error would have spread, to the total extinction of religion. We have 
no hesitation in saying, that we owe all our light, all our piety, all 
our glory, to the public worship of God among us : thus men are called 
and invited to join with the pious. No man in the house of God feels 
himself an intruder ; the place is public ; the service common. The 
doors of such a house as this, like the gates of mercy, are thrown open 
to all mankind, and whosoever will may come and join in our praises 
and prayers. Here the rich and the poor meet together on a level ; 
here the servant and his master stand on equal terms before God ; here 
even saints of every degree, and sinners of every cast, may crowd to» 
gether, and find in the word of the common salvation, the instructions, 
the reproofs, and corrections, which their several states demand. 

3. Beside this, our places of worship are to be considered as the 
places where the Gospel, the good and glad tidings of salvation, are 
announced to men. 

They are the places of treaty and negotiation between God and man. 
Ministers are the ambassadors of God. Clothed with authority by him, 
they enter his house, and a rebellious world is summoned to hear from 
them God's gracious terms of pardon, and his authoritative demand of 
submission. Holding this book, the copy of the treaty which has al- 
ready the signature of God, and only wants yours to give effect to all 
the mercy it contains, we pray your acceptance of it. Concerned, on 
the one part, for the honour of God, and feeling, on the other, for your 
dangerous condition, we pray you, as though God did beseech you by 
us, be ye reconciled to God. Do you want information as to the terms 
of the treaty ? It is ours to explain them. Do you object ? It is ours 
to show you the unreasonableness of your objections. Do you doubt 
of the extent of the mercy ? It is ours to do honour to our God, and to 


satisfy your doubts, by dwelling upon the proofs of his boundless and 
inexhaustible love. Do you trifle ? We are engaged by our office to 
set before you the awful glories and terrors of the God you have of- 
fended. And do you delay ? We urge you, by the worth of your im- 
mortal spirits, to put them to no farther hazard. • In this way, by the 
institution of the ministry, and the ordinances of public worship, how 
many strangers, yea, enemies, to God have in every age been reconciled 
to him! Numbers, we have reason to believe, are, at the several 
solemnities, on every Sabbath, recovered to Jesus Christ ; and the 
same glorious effect will take place here. This is another place of 
treaty and negotiation opened in the very camp of rebels by the autho- 
rity of Heaven. that it may prove successful ! Here may the sin- 
ner, cased in the armour of rebellion, feel the mighty force of the sword 
of the Spirit, the word of God ; and here let the right hand of his Sa- 
viour perform mighty acts ; may his arrows be sharp in the hearts of 
his enemies ; and let 

" Them fall, by Jesu's cross subdued, 
And feel his arrows dipt in blood." 

4. Nor are these the only moral consequences resulting from the 
building of places of worship. They are houses of prayer, and remind 
us of our dependence upon God, and of his condescension to us. They 
are houses of shelter from the storms and cares of life ; the places 
where we cast our care on him, and prove that he careth for us ; the 
places where he is known, eminently known, for a refuge. It is by 
assembling before God that we confess his name before the world, and 
reprove a world which profanes his Sabbaths, and goes away from his 
ordinances. It is in them that the most intimate and the purest friend- 
ships are formed ; for, mixed as a whole assembly may appear, it is in 
reality divided into little bands, attracted to each other by similarity of 
views and feelings ; and the recollection, that they have walked to the 
house of God in company, never fails to quicken the kind affections, 
and to heighten their regard. Above all, it is here that we prepare 
and exercise ourselves for heaven ; and one of the best and most inte- 
resting views we can take of the houses of God below is, that they are 
schools for heaven. Here, it is true, we see as through a glass darkly ; 
but, in attempting to form clearer conceptions, to penetrate the darkness, 
to explain the enigma, our powers acquire strength, and we are trained 
for that state of pure and unclouded intellect which is reserved for us. 
It is here, too, that we acquire spiritual feelings and tastes. Were we 
always in the world, we should remain earthly and carnal ; but in God's 
house we abstract ourselves from the concerns of time. If we worship 
aright, we shall have our minds filled with God, the subjects of his 
religion, and the anticipations of his glory : thus we shall be fitted for 
that state where time, and the affairs which interest us in time, shall 
be no longer. It is in God's house that our holy principles are matured 
and perfected ; and that, obtaining clean hands and a pure heart, we 
are fitted to ascend that holy hill where the pure in heart see God. — 
And, finally, it is here we practise those songs of praise which we are 
to offer in heaven for ever. As the performers in a concert must first 
have studied their performance, and prepared themselves by private 
application to exhibit their skill in public ; so, before we can join the 


chorus of heaven, our hearts and our tongues must be practised in the 
heavenly work on earth. They sing, as it were, a new song ; and no 
man could learn it, no man there could learn it ; it must be learned on 
earth, or it cannot be sung in heaven. We shall, blessed be God, learn 
it here. Many of you have sung it long, and you are learning to sing 
it with more strength and feeling every day. I trust in this place many 
will join you ; and here, " Worthy is the Lamb !" will be sung by you, 
and by thousands whose blasphemies will be turned into praise, with 
new fire, till, with your brethren, whom you have known and loved, with 
whom you have so often joined in chorus on earth, you are introduced 
into the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, and spend eternity 

"In songs around his throne." 

Such is the moral influence exerted upon society, and upon good 
men in particular, by the erection of places of worship, and the services 
to which they are appropriated. We shall, 

Lastly, notice the zeal and liberality which good men have ever dis- 
covered in the erection of houses and altars to God. 

The words of the text are an instance. When Araunah saw David 
coming, he went to meet him ; and, when informed of the occasion, — 
•' to buy the threshing floor, to build an altar to the Lord," — he sponta- 
neously makes him the offer of his threshing floor. His spirit catches 
the fire of David's ; he sees the necessity of the case, the necessity of 
exertion ; and, when life and death were in question, he disdained to 
weigh pence against interests so pressing. " Take," says he, " the 
threshing floor. And here, also, are oxen, and instruments of agricul- 
ture : take the oxen' for sacrifice, and the instruments for wood. I 
give them freely for God, and for the public good." " All these things 
did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king ;" that is, he gave with a 
liberal and princely spirit ; and thus, in his generous feelings, he was 
as much a king as David, though without the dignity. Nor was the 
gift itself, though not equal to the spirit, a small one. Convenience 
might have pleaded to retain the threshing floor as necessary to the 
conduct of his agricultural employ ; it might be a part of his patrimony, 
endeared to him by the memory of his ancestors ; his oxen and his 
implements were objects, the loss of which a man with less of a kingly 
spirit would have contemplated with regret. After all, if he could have 
brought his mind to part with them, had he been a scheming, penurious 
man, he would have calculated the necessity of the case, and have used 
it to get a higher price. But he makes no stipulation ; he observed the 
purpose to be a religious one, and he offers all with a cheerful heart. 
The like spirit exists in David : he would not avail himself of the 
liberality of another to excuse himself. He did not say, " Another 
has contributed sufficient ; there is. no need of my contribution ;" 
but, " I will not offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of 
that which doth cost me nothing." He would not be deprived 
of the honour and happiness of giving in such a cause ; he would 
not be deprived of that personal share and interest which a per- 
sonal offering gave him in the whole transaction. Thus did these 
princely spirits contend for the opportunity of showing their respect for 
God's work and cause. And this is not a solitary instance. When 
Moses was about to build the tabernacle, he called for the offerings of 


the children of Israel ; and they came, every one whose heart stirred 
him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing ; and they brought 
the Lord's offering to the work of the tabernacle, their gold, and their 
silver, and their fine linen, " till the stuff they had was sufficient for all 
the work to make it," and even " too much." The same zeal we see 
at the building of Solomon's temple. In later ages, it was considered 
a work of piety to build synagogues ; and, in modern times, among 
Christians, the same zeal, the same liberality, have been displayed.— 
For my part, I never behold the venerable edifices for public worship, 
most of them spacious and costly, and some of them magnificent, erected 
by your ancestors, but I feel a deep respect for their founders. It may 
be said, that superstition, rather than true Christian zeal, was the real 
cause of their great exertions ; but I envy not the man who would too 
scrupulously scrutinize the motives of another, when the action is good. 
Much, perhaps, of human frailty might mix with these good deeds ; but 
we envy not the man who is most successful in making the discovery, 
in raking up the mud, and fouling the stream. The fact is, that reli- 
gion and religious worship have been by these means preserved ; and 
we have stepped into the enjoyment of the benefits. A laudable portion 
of zeal, too, exists in the present age. Plans have been adopted, though 
not equal to the increased population ; but, thank God, much has been 
done, and is doing. Many of you have honourably exerted yourselves, 
not only on this but many former occasions, to erect altars for your 
God, and to stay the plague. In various places through the country, 
once without God and his worship, we can now look round, and say, 

" These temples of his grace, 
How beautiful they stand ! 
The honours of our native place, 
The bulwarks of our land." 

Another altar to the honour of God is this day commended to your 
liberality ; and as you rejoice in its erection, you will doubtless express 
that feeling by your gifts. 

Such an erection was demanded by necessity. Our other chapels 
were crowded to excess, not a seat was to be obtained ; and for many 
years, the population of the town required us to enlarge our borders. 
Were we to exclude the applicants, the seekers of salvation ? God 
forbid. We have enlarged the tent of our Zion, and even this 
house will be filled. We solicit your aid, therefore, to nothing super- 

Let me also observe, that nothing of the spirit of party or opposition 
has contributed to raise this building. We are opposed to none ; we 
wish to build on. no man's foundation ; but to stretch the line of useful- 
ness beyond all, into the regions where men live who know not God, 
and say unto them, " Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." This is 
ground on which we have a right to tread, and we invade no right of 
others. We know not on what ground any religious body can say, that 
the sinners which every where surround us belong to them, and that 
we have no right even to try to save them : this we are sure of, that 
they belong to the world, and lie in the power of the wicked one ; and 
in the name of Him who said, " Go into all the world, and preach the 
Gospel to every creature," we will invite them into this house, and say, 
" To you is the word of this salvation sent." There was an altar at 


Gibeon ; but the perishing state of men demanded another altar in the 
threshing floor of Araunah ; and it is erected. May it be to thousands 
the ark of safety ! 

In requesting your aid, therefore, we recommend to you the spirit of 
Araunah. Give, and give like him, with a princely, free, and generous 
spirit. The cause is the Lord's ; the object is the salvation of men. 
Remember how much God has done for you ; with what a rich and free 
spirit he has supplied your wants, and provided for your salvation. He 
who requires a trifle from you this night, not because he could not 
carry on his work without you, but because he wishes you to have the 
honour and blessing of giving, — he, I say, who requires this small 
token of your regard for his glory, gave his Son for you. " He spared 
him not, but delivered him up for us all." Remember, too, the value 
of immortal souls. The object of this building is to enlighten and save 
them. Great God, how important a charity, then, is it to build a house 
for the display of thy mercies to man ! Hospitals may relieve the pains 
and cure the sicknesses of the body ; but the body must ultimately die. 
Alms houses may receive the indigent ; and gratifying it is to see age 
here at anchor in the haven, after all the storms of life. Institutions 
of various other kinds may well deserve your support ; and their 
number adorns our age : but the charities which regard the soul rise 
beyond all comparison in importance. Here the good we do takes hold 
of eternity. Rays of light are kindled in benighted understandings ; 
but they shine to the perfect day ; a work is begun which is to be per- 
formed to the day of Christ. With the blessing of God upon our 
labours, here men will be taught to live, and taught to die ; from this 
place colonies shall pass to heaven, and in heaven will look back with 
transport and gratitude to God and to you for the erection of a building 
where the music of a Saviour's name first sounded on their ears, and 
where his grace sanctified their hearts. What you give, then, you 
give for the best interests of man ; and you erect monuments of your 
benevolence immortal as the soul of man, and durable as eternity 

But, lastly, we not only recommend to you the liberal, princely spirit 
of the Jebusite, but his piety. He gave his threshing floor and his 
oxen ; but that did not suffice ; he gave his prayers : " And Araunah 
said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee." We want your 
offerings ; but, above all, your prayers. Without money places of 
worship cannot be erected ; but they are erected in vain without piety 
and prayer. No ; here is the building, but we want the glory ; here is 
the word, but we want the power. My brethren, let us, then, if we 
would see the good of Zion, if we would witness an efficient ministry, 
if we would see the power and glory of God in the sanctuary, if we 
would live upon the fatness of his house, consecrate ourselves anew to 
God ; let us bring holy hands, and lift them up in this temple ; let us 
wash our hands in innocency, and so compass this altar ; let us make 
intercessions and supplications for all men, that the plague may be 
stayed. With these dispositions I trust we are come. O, destroying 
angel, see the smoke of our sacrifice, and stay thine hand ! O God, 
whom we have offended, regard thy pleading Son, whose name we 
here exalt and honour, and bless the work of our hands ! And do you, 
who are come to worship with us on this occasion, give us the aid of 


your prayers ; pray for us now, and pray for us when you leave us ; 
and say, with Araunah, " The Lord your God accept you." Amen. 
" The work of our hands establish thou it !" 

Sermon XXI. — The Death of Stephen. 

' When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed 
on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stead- 
fastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right 
hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man 
standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and 
stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the 
city, and stoned him : and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's 
feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and 
saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a 
loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, 
he fell asleep," Acts vii, 54-60. 

The shower of heavenly and miraculous influence, which fell on the 
disciples at the pentecost^ was, in its effects, signally displayed in 
Stephen. He was " full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost ;" not merely 
the faith of conviction, but of reliance, — resting fully upon the promises 
left by his exalted Saviour, and looking for their instant fulfilment.— 
The consequence was, he was also full of the Holy Ghost : he retained 
the pentecostal baptism, and derived an increase by believing prayer. 
He was also " full of power," of miraculous power ; and did great 
wonders and miracles among the people. Nor was this all. He was 
" full of wisdom ;" of heavenly skill in apprehending and stating the 
glorious truths committed to him ; and of that power which results from 
wisdom, feeling, and the mighty, searching influence of the Holy Spirit, 
called " the demonstration of the Spirit :" so that none " could resist 
the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke." 

This he proved in a disputation with the synagogue of the Libertines, 
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and with certain men of Cilicia and Asia. 
But when bad minds are silenced, they are not always convinced ; and 
when they are convinced, they are not always persuaded. In this case 
argument was at an end ; but diabolical subtilty and brute force 
remained ; and these evil men suborned false witnesses to support a 
charge of blasphemy against this man of God. They dragged him be- 
fore the council ; and though they saw his face shine like that of an 
angel, with the radiance of holy ardour and inward joy, this only pro- 
cured for him a partial hearing : they interrupted his speech, ran upon 
him, cast him out of the city, stoned him as a blasphemer ; and thus, 
perhaps, vainly hoped that they had destroyed the truth, along with one 
of its most illustrious and early defenders. 

The whole account is most deeply interesting ; and to several of the 
scenes which it brings before us, we may profitably direct our attention. 
We observe, 

I. The malignant excitement of the Jewish council. They " gnashed 
upon him with their teeth.'' 


Such was the visible expression of their feeling : the nature of that 
feeling was manifest by the murder of that holy man which followed. 
We are shocked at the wickedness of which the heart of man is capable. 
It has many manifestations ; but in no case is it so strongly marked as 
in the contrasts presented in instances of religious persecution. On 
the one hand, there is every thing to conciliate regard ; and on the 
other, there are the worst of passions. See the meek and lowly Jesus ; 
and, in contrast, hear the cry, l: Crucify him ! Crucify him !" See the 
face of the protomartyr shining like the face of an angel ; and his 
enemies " gnashing upon him with their teeth." See the calm dignity 
of St. Paul, giving his reasons for becoming a Christian ; and the >ews 
crying, " Away with such a fellow from the earth !" See the resigned 
sufferers for Christ ; and the callous Pharisaism which doomed them to 
the rack or the fire, and the surrounding fiends of men revelling in their 

But how is this to be accounted for? What is that principle in 
human nature which originates the whole ? It is a principle which is 
widely diffused, and which presents our fall under one of its most 
humbling aspects. It is this, — enmity to the truth of God ; and hatred 
to them who hold it, because they hold and proclaim it. We shall find 
ignorance in many, prejudice in still more, often a misled and abused 
populace ; but, in the immediate inciters, and the authors of systematic 
bigotry and persecution, this is the origin. Man surrounds himself 
with religious delusions, and creates a false peace ; he loves his refuges 
of lies, and trusts in his covenant with death ; the beams of truth dis- 
turb his repose, and he hates it, as Satan in Milton hates the sun of 
nature. The intemperate man hears reasoning on righteousness ; and, 
instead of trembling and repenting, he trembles and abhors. The for- 
malist hears of an inward change, and spurns the " fanatics" who teach 
it. The Pharisee breathes threatening and slaughter against the doc- 
trine which teaches, that by works of law no man is justified. Thus 
we see man determined to nourish the delusions which favour his cor- 
ruptions, and to maintain a hopeless and wicked contest with his God. 
Yet, think not that this spirit is confined to ages of persecution. It 
exists in ages of professed liberality, when persecution ceases from 
circumstances, and not from principle. Be you faithful witnesses of 
the truth ; and you will see the enmity, and often hear the growl of 
the savage within, though chained : and be faithful to yourselves ; and 
you will often find, as to truth and its preachers, when they press hard 
upon your own views and errors, the inquiry rising, " Hast thou found 
me, mine enemy ?" and that with no friendly feeling. If we hate the 
extreme expression of persecution, as in the shuddering scene in the 
text, let us hate the principle in ourselves. 

II.- In the midst of this commotion, how striking is the attitude of 
the martyr ! " He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly 
into heaven." 

Two circumstances are here recorded. The fact, that he was " full 
of the Holy Ghost," being again mentioned, intimates that he had in 
that moment a special visitation of Divine strength and comfort. The 
moment was a trying one. His enemies were numerous, and their 
rage was great ; so that from them he could expect no mercy. Then 
the visitation was granted. How often does this interesting circum- 


stance of the seasonable interposition of God in behalf of his servants 
appear in the New Testament ! Hence St. Paul remarks, that, while 
his outward afflictions abounded, his consolations by Christ abounded 
in proportion. " We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation 
worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope ; and 
hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in 
our heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Similar instances 
occur in the Old Testament. When the three Hebrew children were 
cast alive into the burning fiery furnace, " one like unto the Son of 
God" appeared among them, so that not a hair of their heads was 
singed, nor did the smell of fire pass upon their clothes. When St. 
John was banished to the isle of Patmos, for the word of God, and the 
testimony of Jesus, he was favoured with the presence of his glorified 
Lord, and of the holy angels. All these facts are designed to teach 
us, that, if we trust in the Lord, mercy shall compass us about ; and 
that he is, as it is emphatically expressed, " a very present help in the 
time of trouble." 

The immediate effect of this visitation was, that " he looked up 
steadfastly into heaven ;" not attracted by the vision, which appears to 
have been vouchsafed afterward, while he was looking up. The action 
carries its own comment. It was an appeal from the injustice of earth, 
to the eternal justice of Heaven ; from merciless men, to a compas- 
sionate God. It was a devout committal of his cause into a supreme 
hand ; a saying, " If it is right for me to be delivered, thou canst 
deliver me ; no rage of man can prevent this : if it be thy will that I 
should die, behold, here I am ; do with me as seemeth thee good." Do 
you not here catch an illustrious view of the manner in which true 
Christianity lifts man above himself; and how lofty a character is 
stamped upon a regenerate nature ? A man whose eye is fixed on 
heaven tramples equally under foot the smiles and the frowns of earth. 
Here, indeed, is not the great man of the Roman poet ; — 

"The tyrant's fierceness he beguiles, 
And the harsh brow, and the stern voice defies, 
And with superior greatness smiles." 

Here is no defiance, no collecting of a man's resisting energies, rest- 
ing on the centre of a dogged resolution ; which is all that heathen 
virtue could reach. Here is no retreating of man into himself, in 
search of natural courage, or other principles to sustain him. The 
contrast is most impressive. In Christian heroism man goes out of 
himself to a higher power ; his strength is in his weakness ; he trusts 
in another, an almighty power ; and thus confesses that he can do no- 
thing. Stephen looks steadfastly up into heaven ; commits his case 
there ; and becomes mighty through God. O let us learn, that when 
we sink we rise ; when we are thus nothing, we possess all in God. 

III. We have the vision thus vouchsafed to the protomartyr while 
he was silently looking up to heaven : " He saw the glory of God, and 
Jesus standing at the right hand of God." 

This vision was confined to him ; and we may remark how appro- 
priate it was to the two great purposes which to him were so import- 
ant in that hour, — to confirm his faith, and to afford him courage and 


As to his faith. It Was a vision of Christ in his glory. Whether 
he had seen our Lord after his resurrection, does not appear ; but 
whether, or not, he never saw him as now. He now saw him, not as 
an humbled sojourner on earth ; not even as he appeared after his re- 
surrection, in a kind of middle state ; not even as majestically rising 
into the cloud which hid him from their sight ; but in his glory, at the 
right hand of God. Here was faith, indeed, lost in vision ; faith re- 
warded and confirmed by the evidence of vision ; just as all true faith 
shall finally be rewarded. For true faith fixes upon the reality of 
things. They are, though they are not seen. They exist, though the 
distance which separates time from eternity intervenes ; though the 
body's wall of partition rises up between us and them ; and God does 
not work a miracle, as in the case of Stephen, to enable us to see 
within it. Still they are there ; and the faith which the world despises, 
and sometimes persecutes, shall be crowned with the glorious sight. 
Ah ! how near may that be ! How soon may God lift up the veil, as 
to every one of us, and let the saint into the anticipated glories, and 
plunge the sinner into the forgotten horrors, of eternity ! " Seeing, 
then, that ye look for such things," and that the sensible objects with 
which we are surrounded " shall shortly be dissolved, what manner of 
persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ?" 

But the vision with which Stephen was indulged was as appropriate 
to inspire courage and comfort, as to confirm his faith. It was an hour 
when he needed both ; and the vis.on was adapted to minister the 
grace which the time of need required. It was a vision of Christ in 
his glory. He could not see that without thinking of the Lord's words 
in his last prayer : " And the glory which thou hast given me I have 
given them. Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me 
may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory." The 
glory of Jesus, therefore, was that of his faithful confessor ; and he 
saw that into which he himself should enter. He had but to ad- 
vance one step farther in his glorious course, and then he should be 
safe for ever. 

It was a vision of " Jesus at the right hand of God," the place of 
power and authority ; every thing below, therefore, was tinder his 
management and control. If the sovereign Lord loosened the chain, 
and permitted the savage enemies of Stephen to destroy him, it was the 
part of the servant to bow. He had engaged, as a disciple, to bear the 
cross ; to hate his life for Christ's sake ; and now the master exacts 
the obedience, and the disciple cheerfully renders it. Still he is at the 
right hand of power, to control and limit the rage of man, to choose the ' 
moment when his servant should thus glorify him, to afford him al- 
mighty succour, to turn his death into a means of furthering his own 
eternal truth, and, by opening his glory, to receive the spirit which 
should be violently repelled from its earthly tenement by a shower of 
stones, to give force to his own lofty exhortation : " Fear not them 
which can kill the body, and after that there is no more that they can 
do." short and impotent arm of man ! There lies the mangled body ; 
what can you do more ? Priests, rulers of the people ! what can you 
do more 1 What if the Roman governor with his legion were at your 
command, what could you do more ? The sufferer is in a rest you 
cannot disturb, with a Lord from whom you cannot separate him ; and 


the spirit which your threats could not subdue on earth, which triumph- 
ed against you here, triumphs over you above. 

It was a vision of his Lord, standing and looking down upon him. 
How could he then faint ? There was Christ tacitly. exhorting him by 
his look, " Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of 
life ;" and here was the servant, glad to suffer and die under the eye 
of his approving Lord. 

These were the sights which animated Stephen ; but let us remem- 
ber, that, though in a different sense, yet in a sense most important, if 
we would run our course aright and perseveringly, we, too, must " look 
unto Jesus." He looks upon us ; let us take care that we sin not. 
He looks upon us as our Lord and Master, and requires of us patiently 
to bear the cross, and to suffer with resignation. He looks upon us, 
and will give us the help we need. Let us look to him in habitual 
reverence and steadfast trust. 

IV. It is not an uninteresting fact of the scene which the narrative 
of the text brings before us, that Saul, who was afterward called Paul, 
was present at the stoning of Stephen, and as one of the party of his 

Perhaps he was an agent of the Jewish council, to superintend the 
execution ; for the witnesses who, according to custom, were to cast 
the first stone, laid their clothes at his feet, stripping themselves of 
their upper garments, that they might, without encumbrance, apply 
themselves to their sanguinary work. Or he might be a perfectly gra- 
tuitous volunteer in this service, which, to his unhallowed and fiery 
zeal, appeared so meritorious. This, however, was his first public act 
of persecution ; and here he acquired his first taste for the blood of 
saints. It was on this occasion, probably, that his wicked ardour in 
the cause of relentless Pharisaism commended him to the notice of 
the ruling powers ; so that he appears to have been a chief agent in 
the general persecution against the Church at Jerusalem that imme- 
diately followed ; for when, two years afterward, we are informed that 
he applied to the high priest for authority to carry his persecuting 
rage as far as Damascus, the account is introduced expressly thus : 
" And' Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the 
disciples of the Lord ;" intimating that, after a course of fierce and 
cruel persecuting acts, his appetite for blood was not yet abated. " And 
Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples 
of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to 
Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether 
they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem," 
Acts ix, 1,2. 

These circumstances are recorded for important reasons. To this 
day they teach and admonish. They teach us how much evil may re- 
main in the heart under a show of virtue. See a man rigidly righteous 
externally. Open his heart, and it swells with pride, frowns with 
malignity, flames with anger. Against the Christians he was "exceed- 
ingly mad." He kept the law, as he thought ; and yet he neither 
loved God, nor his neighbour. How would this trial wither the goodly 
show of many others ! 

We are taught by the case of Saul, how capable the conscience is 
of being perverted. See a man so scrupulous as to pay tithe, no doubt 


beyond the letter of the law, of anise, mint, and cummin ; but as to 
" the weightier matters of the law," a cruel implacable murderer. Yet 
he thought his conduct right : but it was not so, let us remember, on 
that account. With much seriousness and care ought we to inform 
our judgments, lest conscience betray us. It may become a false 
light. We may think it a light to heaven, when it is in truth a guids 

tO ll3.Il. 

The case of Saul also teaches us how hidden the spiritualities of the 
law may be to the most diligent student of it. Men may be learned 
indeed in the letter of the law ; but without docility of temper, and 
devout prayer to the Father of lights, they will never understand its 
spiritual import. With the Bible in our hands we may be in deadly 
error ; and of the Christian as well as of the Jewish dispensation it 
may be said, " The letter killeth, but' the Spirit giveth life." 

How truly is salvation of grace ! The wonder of St. Paul shows 
this. " I obtained mercy !" he exclaims. We may bring less of guilt 
of some kinds than St. Paul, when we come to the mercy seat for 
pardon and holiness ; but none of us can bring more of merit. It is 
the " ungodly" whom the Lord justifies ; and saved as ungodly we must 
be, or we shall not be saved at all. 

How different are the ways of God from our ways ! Here is a strik- 
ing instance. An apostle was wanting, of particular endowments, to 
be a more active and useful instrument than any of the rest. Had the 
wisdom of the Church been consulted, it would doubtless have fixed 
upon some eminent disciple already known and approved. But the 
wisdom of God determines very differently. Divine grace marches 
into the camp of the enemy, and seizes the head and captain of the 
persecutors, and converts him into an apostle. From a flame of unhal 
lowed fire, the Saviour raises up a soul distinguished by meekness and 
humble love. He makes the dark prejudices of Pharisaism give place 
to the most perfect knowledge of the Gospel ; and consecrates the 
" feet which had been swift to shed blood," to bear the Gospel through 
the vast extent of the Roman empire. What shall we say, but, " Even 
so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight ?" And we ought always 
to stand prepared for this, that by means and instruments which 
mock all human confidence and calculation, God will convert the 

V. Lastly. We have the death of Stephen. 

We may here observe, though we do not dwell upon the subject, the 
peculiar manner in which Christianity teaches the doctrine of the 
immortality of the soul, and the future blessedness of the righteous. — ■ 
It does not inculcate these truths doctrinally merely, but scenically. 
We are not left to hope waveringly, as some of the heathen were ; nor 
to reason the subject into probability, as some of the philosophers have 
done ; nor even to believe it simply on the authority of revelation. We 
are permitted, so to speak, in the authenticated narratives of the Holy 
Scriptures, to see it. We see it at the transfiguration, when Moses 
and Elias, who for ages had ceased to be inhabitants of this world, 
appeared in glory, and conversed with our Lord, on the subject of his 
approaching death. Our Lord, a perfect man, as well as God, ascends 
to heaven. He is here seen in glory ; and Stephen surrenders his 
spirit into his hands, to be received into his presence. Such is the 


glorious demonstration, that, as to this vital doctrine of our religion, 
we walk by sight, as well as by faith. I merely touch upon this 

The death of Stephen has many sweet and instructive aspects. 

It was a death of prayer. He died calling upon God. He needed 
prayer to the end, because to the end he needed Divine support. No 
former grace which he had received was then sufficient ; no visions 
with which he might be favoured could supersede the necessity of direct 
communications of Divine help and comfort. Still, therefore, he must 
call upon God. Yet his former grace was to him most important ; for 
he knew how to call upon God ; and the principles which rendered 
prayer available, — true humility, and true faith, — had been previously 
wrought in his heart. O let us now learn the habit, the power of 
prayer ! We shall need it to our last struggle ; and we shall not " call 
upon God" in vain, either in life or in death. 

A death of faith. Christ was recognized by the dying martyr, and 
into his hands the soul was commended. The soul of Stephen had 
been thus committed to the merit of the Saviour's passion for justifica- 
tion ; it had been committed to his care through life ; and Christ was 
acknowledged as the Saviour, the only Saviour of souls, in death. The 
language of St. Paul was very similar. " I know," says he, " whom I 
have trusted ; and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I 
have committed to him against that day." I have frequently thought 
that he refers here to the dying words of Stephen. He must often have 
called this scene to mind, to humble and to encourage him. When 
stoned himself he would think of Stephen ; and when he was about to 
die. he who had so strangely gained life from the martyr's death, dies 
with the same confidence, and almost the same words. On Christ they 
both rested, as the Saviour of souls in that moment, and knew that there 
is no true peace in death where there is not trust in Christ. 

A death of certainty. In the mind of Stephen there was no gloom 
as to the future ; for the death of the Christian is the surrender of his 
spirit into the hands of his glorified Saviour. What a thought is this ! 
View the language of Stephen in contrast with that of even the wisest 
of the heathen, and especially with that of unbelievers. " And now, O 
ye judges," said Socrates, " ye are going to live, and I am going to die. 
Which of these is best, God knows ; but I suppose no man does." " I 
am going to take a leap in the dark !" exclaimed an infidel in the 
prospect of dissolution. The despairing sinner, who has neglected the 
salvation of the Gospel, trembles at the sight of the great gulf ; and 
many unfaithful professors of Christianity in their last hours have pain- 
ful doubts as to whether they shall sink or rise. It is your privilege to 
die like Stephen. The vision makes no difference in the case. St. 
Paul saw no vision, and yet he employs the same language of blessed 
assurance. Thousands of holy and devout Christians have died in the 
same manner. Live, then, for this glorious end. 

A death of charity. The man of God was surrounded by fierce and 
bloody men, who were inflicting upon him the greatest injury in their 
power ; yet a soul ripe for heaven can have no resentments ; and he 
cries with a loud voice, — expressive, not only of a forgiving spirit, but 
of the utmost ardour of benevolence, — " Lord, lay not this sin to their 
charge !" thus exemplifying the doctrine of his Lord, " I say unto you, 

Vol. I 18 


Love your enemies ; bless them that curse you ; and pray for them that 
efespitefully use you, and persecute you." 

A death of peace. " He fell asleep." He possessed the most per- 
fect calmness in the midst of violence ; and an expression of that calm- 
ness was perhaps left upon the countenance of his breathless remains. 
" He fell asleep ; and devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and 
made great lamentation over him." 

Let us never forget what it was that led to all the excellencies of 
Stephen's character, and that gave him such peace and triumph in 
death : he was " full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost." It was his 
absolute confidence in Christ that secured to him that unutterable 
tranquillity of conscience which he possessed ; and it was by the gracious 
operation of the Holy Spirit, the gift of which he had received by the 
same faith, that his mind was sanctified, and elevated, and strengthened. 
*' Blessed are the pure in heart ; for they shall see God." 

Sermon XXII. — TJie Incarnation of the Eternal Word. 

" And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his 
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth,"* 
John i, 14. 

The Apostle St. Paul determined to " know nothing among men, 
save Jesus Christ, and him crucified ;" and he terms this the most 
excellent knowledge. These sentiments are fully justified by that 
striking declaration of our Lord, " It is life eternal to know thee, the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Whatever 
Christ is, whatever he did, whatever he taught, is, then, of the highest 
importance to man. Eternal life is treasured up in this knowledge, 
and eternally springs from it. It is the foundation of our faith ; for 
how shall we believe in him of whom we have not heard ? — of our 
worship ; for we cannot, we ought not to, worship an unknown God ; — 
of our love ; for we must know his excellencies, we must collect with 
grateful care all the instances of his kindness toward us, to kindle this 
holy affection, and excite it to new and ever-increasing ardours. 

Our text, and the verses connected with it, place our Saviour before 
lis in views so impressive, that it is impossible for us devoutly to con- 
template them without an increase of knowledge, faith, and love. 

" In the beginning," before time was, before a created nature existed, 
" was the Word ;" " and the Word was with God," and, therefore, in 
an important sense, distinct from him ; " and the Word was God," there- 
fore co-equal and one with him. No scheme of doctrine can explain 
and harmonize this passage, but that which admits a distinction of per- 
sons in the unity of one Godhead. 

" The same," — mark the emphasis, — " the same" Word, of whom he 
speaks ; the same Jesus whom they had seen ; at whose feet they had 
sat ; who had been " despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, 
and acquainted with grief ;" " the same was in the beginning with God. 
All things were made by him ; and without him was not any thing made 


that was made ;" whether angels, or men, or inanimate nature. And 
yet this Word, this Divine Person, this almighty Creator, arrayed in 
the ample vesture of all the Divine perfections, clad himself in the 
mantle of frail, and weak, and humiliated humanity. " The Word was 
made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as 
of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." 

To the successive clauses of this important passage of holy writ I 
proceed to direct your attention. 

I. Our Lord is denominated the Word. 

The use of this term is almost peculiar to the Apostle John. H6 
lived the longest, and he wrote the last ; and he lived, too, to see the 
springing up of those heresies which afterward inundated the Church 
of Christ. There was, doubtless, a reason for the application of this 
term to our Lord ; not merely from its propriety, but from the circum- 
stances of the case. It is likely that, as the followers of Plato had used 
this term to characterize that inferior and created being who, in his 
system, framed the visible world, the term had been assumed by some 
of the early heretics, and used to express an inferior conception of our 
Lord's nature. The apostle, therefore, seizes it from the enemy ; fixes 
its sense, as it is used by the prophets and early Jewish commentators 
when applied to the second person in the trinity, as the expected Mes- 
siah ; and attaches to it for ever the idea of positive Divinity. The 
term has two senses, equally descriptive both of the nature and office 
of our Lord. It is personal and official. 

1. Personal. It signifies reason or wisdom. 

In this sense it indicates the infinite intelligence of Him who was 
made flesh. He is the Wisdom of God ; " the brightness of his glory, 
and the express image of his person," answering in this and every 
other perfection of his nature, as exactly to all the boundless attributes 
of God, as the impression upon the wax to the seal. In the amplitude 
of his mind he compasses the Divine perfections and counsels of the 
Father ; for " no man knoweth the Father, but the Son." Nor is this 
a speculative point. We are all most deeply interested in it ; because 
it is this which gives an absolute infallibility to his teaching. He fully 
knew the mind of God ; and he has expressed it to man. It must, 
therefore, be true. 

2. Official. It is by speech that wisdom is declared to others. 
For this reason also he is called the Word, the Speech, the Mouth 

of God. Mediately he spake to our fathers by the prophets ; but in 
these last days he hath spoken to us by the Son. And in proportion 
to the dignity of the Speaker is the clearness of this revelation. In 
the Word we have no type, no veil. God speaks to us without inter- 
vention, and opens to us the counsels of his truth and grace. O beau- 
teous revelation ! No longer is the veil kept upon the glory, as under 
the law ; no longer are we left to decypher the enigma, the characters 
and difficult symbols of Jewish ceremonies ; no longer are we left to 
ask with respect to prophets, " Of whom doth the prophet speak ? of 
himself, or of some other man?" The mists which hung over the 
dawn of revelation are dissipated ; the Sun itself has burst upon our 
view ; and in the teaching of Him who might truly say, " I am the 
light of the world," truth high as its Author in dignity, but condescend- 
ing as that Author in simplicity, is taught to man. 


But something more than teaching was wanted ; something which 
should give us an interest in these truths, and make them available to 
us. Without this they had been a splendid vision ; the noblest exercise 
for the intellect, but nothing more. We are, therefore, taught in the 

II. That " the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us ;" that by 
that vast stoop of condescension he might reach the depth of our con- 
dition, and raise us from it. 

" The Word was made flesh." By this expression is meant human 
nature. " All flesh is grass ;" " to thee shall all flesh come." The 
term is used throughout the Scriptures to denote human nature. Christ 
took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham, the 
nature of man. 

The incarnation of Christ is to be considered, 

1. As a deep humiliation. He " emptied himself." 

This is a singular and inexplicable phrase. It is not, however, 
presumptuous to suppose that there was in heaven some distinct visible 
glory of each person in the Godhead, marking a special presence. 
The special presence of the Son of God might be manifested in an 
obscure manner while he remained in the flesh, until he returned to 
" the glory which he had with the Father before the world was." As 
he became the substitute and representative of sinners, it was necessary 
that he should take the humble rank of the guilty. He descended, 
therefore, from the height of heaven to the humblest condition of earth. 

He was thus humbled, 

2. That he might familiarize himself with the human condition, as 
a qualification for his office as our High Priest. 

Such a High Priest became us. There was a fitness in his assump- 
tion of our nature, that he might sympathize with the afflicted. There 
is a correspondence between the feelings of Christ's humanity, and the 
compassion of his Godhead. There is no jar here. One resulted from 
the perfection of his nature, the other from personal experience ; and 
both together form one fit and sympathizing High Priest, and lay a 
foundation for our trust under all the sorrows and trials of life. " Both 
he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one : for 
which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." " As the chil- 
dren are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took 
part of the same." " Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be 
made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful 
High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the 
sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, 
he is able to succour them that are tempted," Heb. ii, 11-18. Having 
such a High Priest, who is passed into the heavens, where he exercises 
the infinite mercy of God, and the tender sympathy of a spotless 
human nature, we may well possess our souls in patience, and repose 
a rejoicing confidence in him, under all the temptations and afflictions 
which are incident to the present state of our being. 

3. To embody and exemplify his own religion. 

In the entire spirit and conduct of our Lord, we see his doctrine, 
living and acting. He has left us an example that we should tread in 
his steps ; and " every one that saith he abideth in him ought to walk 
as Christ also walked." His example was Divine, and yet human ; a 


perfect model, and yet imitable by those who have redemption through 
his blood, and are made partakers of his quickening and sanctifying 

4. But the crowning purpose of our Lord's incarnation was, that he 
might suffer for the sins of men. 

His body was prepared for this very purpose. He was " made 
flesh," that he might hunger and thirst, endure the contempt of the 
people, weep over Jerusalem, feel the hour and the power of darkness 
agonize in the garden, and die upon the cross, and thus pay the penalty, 
the rigid satisfaction, death for death, and redeem a guilty world. 
joyful news ! tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people ! The 
ransom is paid down ; " the Word was made flesh" to pay it : and shall 
the blessing of pardon, of peace, of holiness, of eternal life, purchased 
at such a price, and now freely offered to our acceptance, be refused by 
us ? God forbid. " How shall we escape if we neglect so great sal- 
vation ?" 

III. Yet, says the apostle, in this humbled state " we beheld his 

Others beheld it not ; but his disciples beheld it. Allusion is here 
made to the tabernacle in the wilderness, within which was the she- 
chinah, or cloud of the Divine glory. The outside presented nothing 
striking. It was not like the temple, of which the disciples admired 
the " goodly stones" and beautiful architecture. The tabernacle was 
made of boards, covered with skins. The glory was within. The 
Jews looked upon our Lord's lowly condition, while he tabernacled 
among them ; and they discovered in him " no beauty nor comeliness 
that they should desire him ;" and hence he was " despised and rejected 
of men." But his disciples " saw his glory," which he " manifested 
forth" among them. 

Of this " glory" two things are affirmed in the text. 

1. That it was " the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." 

In other words, it was Divine glory ; for the term " only begotten" 
is used to express his Divine nature, as the Divine and eternal Son of 
God ; or, as it is expressed in the Nicene Creed, which embodies the 
opinions of the best ages of the Church of Christ, " God of God, 
Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of 
one substance with the Father." Of his Divinity our Lord gave abun- 
dant proofs during his abode upon earth. He showed that there was 
one in the tabernacle greater than the tabernacle. His Divinity was 
seen in his teaching. What a wondrous charm was that which produced 
so strong an impression, that " when he had ended his sayings, the 
people were astonished at his doctrine ; for he taught them as one 
having authority !" And when the Pharisees and chief priests sent 
officers to take him, when he was teaching in the temple, those men 
were disarmed by his word, and having silently retired from his pre- 
sence, when it was said to them, " Why have ye not brought him ?" the 
only answer they were able to give was, " Never man spake like this 
man !" John vii, 32, 46. When our Lord taught he gave demonstration 
that a more than human voice spake, and that a more than human mind 
poured forth its wisdom. It is not true, that Jesus was the most unsuc- 
cessful of preachers. " Great multitudes followed him," and were 
prepared by his ministry for the full revelation of evangelical truth 


which was made at the pentecost, and the rich baptism of the Spirit 
which was vouchsafed on that memorable day. 

Our Lord supplied proofs of his Divinity in his works of power. He 
was full of healing virtue ; so that even to touch the hem of his gar- 
ment was sufficient to remove diseases, otherwise incurable. The 
" Come forth" which awakened Lazarus was but a softened accent of 
the voice which, rolling through the caverns of the earth, shall awaken 
all the dead. But the apostles saw his concealed glory in his trans- 
figuration, when "the fashion of his countenance was altered," "his 
face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was light and glistering ;" 
" white as the light ;" as " white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can 
white them." They saw his glory in his resurrection ; for he rose, 
having "life in himself;" — and in his ascension to heaven, when "a 
cloud received him out of their sight." 

2. It is affirmed of this " glory" that it was " full of grace and 

It was a glory, not like that of Sinai, but softened, and filled in every 
part, and in all its manifestations, by grace and truth. He communi- 
cated truth in the most gracious manner, and for the most gracious 
ends. In other words, in the glory of Christ were embodied and ex- 
emplified, not only the will and counsels, but the grace, the kindness, 
the compassion of God. 

To enter into this subject, let us observe, that God only knows him- 
self; and without a revelation, symbolical or literal, man could never 
have known him. Now, any mere declaration of God, and of the 
attributes of his nature, would have been an imperfect manifestation 
of God, because not sufficiently impressive. Abstract truths and virtues 
affect us but partially. Describe benevolence in words ; but how 
slightly are we affected by the most perfect description, in comparison 
with its exemplification in men who seek out the sick, dry up the 
widow's tears, and dive into the prisons of the captive ! We may 
describe ministerial zeal ; but how different does it appear in the Apostle 
Paul, impelling him to those mighty efforts which filled the Roman 
empire with the sound of salvation ! God has therefore made himself 
visible to us, so to speak, in action, that we may know him more per- 
fectly, and that our knowledge may impress us with a deeper effect. 

He has discovered himself to us in nature. The universe is a mani- 
festation of God. Unlimited space exhibits his immensity ; the 
assemblage of worlds, the greatness of his power ; his v/isdom appears 
in the arrangement of the mighty whole ; the harmony of universal 
nature demonstrates his unity ; the benevolent contrivances which every 
where meet the eye of the attentive observer declare his goodness ; and 
the occasional storms, plagues, and other calamities which take place, 
demonstrate his terrible anger and majesty. 

The giving of the law was a visible manifestation of God. It de- 
clared his authority, his purity, and his justice : but there was one 
perfection of the Godhead, which still wanted its full expression, — his 
graciousness ; that perfection which is made up of his goodness, and 
consists in showing kindness, and in mercy to the erring, the guilty, 
and the wretched. Nature has not expressed it throughout all her 
wondrous manifestations of God. Nor had the law expressed it ; for 
what of grace was known was not from the law, but from Him who is 


" full, of grace and truth," but whose full manifestation was not yet 
come. The rays of grace and kindness which play among the parting 
clouds of the world's darkness in the elder times were emanations of 
light from him, the harbingers of his personal coming. He came, and 
his glory was " full of grace and truth ;" and this perfection of God, 
his love, his grace to the guilty, received its full manifestation. Mark 
it in Christ, who is so truly said to be the visible image of the invisible 
God. It is seen in his teaching. We have already spoken of its 
Divinity ; now observe its grace. It is seen in his compassions for all 
who are labouring under temporal suffering ; the sick, the maimed, the 
demoniacs :-— in the forgiveness of sins : — to many troubled consciences 
did he give repose : — in his friendship with his disciples ; showing how 
God in very deed dwells with man upon earth : — in his sufferings : — 
we have seen that he took flesh that he might suffer ; and what but 
love sustained him in all the scenes of wo through which he was called 
to pass ? At any stage of that sad process he might have rescued 
himself ; but love carried him on, till the word, " It is finished," showed 
that the work was done. 

He still displays his grace in the standing ministry of the word. — 
There his offers of salvation are made ; and by his ambassadors, whom 
he qualifies and sends, he beseeches sinners to be reconciled to God. 
Nor is his grace less displayed in his intercession and advocacy with 
God. He ever lives to plead the merit of his death in behalf of his 
•Church and the world ; and with him there is mercy to pardon the 
guilty, and overflowing goodness for ever to supply the wants of those 
who believe in him and love him. 

We may learn from this subject, 

1. That Christ is to be worshipped. 

He was God from everlasting, " before the mountains were brought 
forth, or ever the world was made.*' All things were made by him, 
whether animate or inanimate, rational or brute. And the almighty 
Creator of the universe claims the highest homage of his intelli- 
gent offspring, and to him ceaseless praises and thanksgivings are 
justly due, for his creating power and wisdom ; and especially for his 
assumption of our nature, his obedience unto death, for our redemption, 
and the blessings of salvation which he showers upon all who " believe 
in him with the heart unto righteousness." " Give unto the Lord, there- 
fore, all ye kindreds of the earth, give unto the Lord the glory due unto 
his name." 

2. That we should trust in the sufficiency of his atonement. 
The death of Jesus Christ was the sacrifice of a Divine person. 

"His Godhead with the manhood join'd, 
For every soul atonement made." 

Let the self-condemned transgressor of the law of God, who has no 
merit of his own to plead, confide in the perfect sacrifice of Christ, and 
so shall the pardoning mercy of God be freely extended to him ; for 
we are " justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in 
Christ Jesus : whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through 
faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins 
that are past, through the forbearance of God ; to declare at this time 
his righteousness ; that he might be just and the justifier of him which 


believeth in Jesus," Rom. iii, 24-26. And even when our persons iiie 
justified, and our names are written in heaven, our dependence upon 
the sacrifice of Christ is absolute and uninterrupted. Our reliance upc i 
the blood of atonement, therefore, should be entire, and never with- 
drawn till our salvation is completed in the glories of the heavenly state 

3. We should apply to Christ in all cases of want. 

However numerous and great may be our necessities, he is able to 
supply every need, and to answer every prayer. We can need no 
greater encouragement than that contained in the text, to present our 
requests to him. He is " full of grace ;" and therefore disposed to con- 
fer upon us blessings of the richest value, and in endless variety. He 
is " full of truth ;" and therefore never deceives those who look to him 
for the fulfilment of his word. All his promises are sure ; for his 
mercy and truth endure throughout all generations. 

4. Let us imitate him ; and unite grace and truth in all our inter- 
course with mankind. 

An ardent benevolence to all men, producing a readiness to serve 
them, and to promote their interests in every possible way, is inculcated 
upon us as an essential branch of the religion of Christ ; and to this we 
should join the most inviolable fidelity ; and so shall we resemble him 
whose name we bear, and stand approved before his tribunal " Let 
that mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." 

S&rmon XXIII. — The Triumph of the Gospel. 

"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and 
maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place," 2 Cor. ii, 14. 

This lofty exclamation was excited by the successes with which it 
had pleased God to favour the apostle, and his coadjutors in the work of 
preaching the Gospel. He proposed to visit Corinth ; and gives the 
reason why he had not fulfilled that purpose. He did not use " light- 
ness ;" but he was not at his own disposal. God had opened to him 
doors in Troas and Macedonia ; and the work assigned to him in those 
places had detained him. Then, reviewing his success, and looking 
round on scenes of opening labour, his exulting spirit bounds forth in 
the sublime strain of the text, " Now thanks be unto God, which always 
causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his 
knowledge by us in every place." 

Nor is there any exaggeration here. The apostle was endowed 
with the prophetic spirit. He knew to what ends the work he had 
begun was tending ; he had, in no inconsiderable degree, triumphed in 
every place where he had ministered ; and he had planted those prin- 
ciples which he knew would accomplish a moral conquest yet more 
extensive and more glorious. 

We call your attention, 

I. To the triumphs of the Gospel by the apostles. 

The text contains an allusion to military triumphs ; and the terms 
used by the apostle would suggest to a Greek or a Roman a splendid 


spectacle, exhibited with all the pomp of circumstance. But there was 
nothing of that kind here. The victory and the triumph were noise- 
less ; and at that time were scarcely noticed by the higher classes of 
mankind ; but for that very reason the effects were more powerful and 

1. It was the triumph of truth over error. 

The errors of paganism were rooted in education ; they incited to 
sinful pleasures, were supported by rank, spread through all minds, 
defended by subtlety, and often recommended by eloquence. What a 
triumph did Christianity achieve over the wisdom of Greece ! Who 
goes to that now for the fundamental principles of religion ? Not one. 
" Where is the wise ? Where is the disputer ? Where is the scribe ? 
Where is the wisdom of this world 1 Hath not God made foolish the 
wisdom of this world ?" He has, so far as Greece is concerned ; and, 
as for the mythology of Rome, although it commanded the homage of 
one hundred and twenty millions of souls, it is found now only in school 
books, the ridicule of children. 

2. It was a triumph over persecution. 

No system was ever so persecuted as the Christian religion was ; 
and nothing affords a more striking view of the deep depravity of man, 
than that it should be so persecuted. It was light, mercy, and salva- 
tion ; it was the news of an incarnate God dying for men ; it was the 
offer of pardon in his name. Its voice to man was mild and inviting; 
the blessings it offered were adapted to remove all the evils of indivi- 
duals and society ; it spread before men the glories of immortality ; and 
yet they killed its prophets, and stoned the messengers that were sent 
unto them. 

Nor was this a solitary case. All ranks, in all places, magistrates 
and mobs, priests and people, set themselves against the Lord, and his 
Anointed. Yet the Gospel triumphed. Ten persecutions wasted the 
Church, but could not destroy it. To this day Christianity exists ; and 
thus we are the proof that Christ founded his Church upon a rock, and 
that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 

Yet what a struggle has this been ! a struggle new in the world. — ■ 
Christians conquered not by arms ; for they rebelled not. They con- 
quered by principle and patience ; in a word, by the might of their 
meekness. One word of Christ explains the whole subject : " Fear 
not them that can kill the body, and after that have no more that they 
can do." Thus the power of tyrants was limited in the view of the 
Christian, and was despised. It might expel from home ; but it could 
not cast out from the family of God. It might shut up in prison ; but 
at midnight the free spirit sang praises to its God. It might stretch 
the body on the rack ; but the peace of the soul was the gift of Christ ; 
and the world, no, not by all its devilish arts of torment, could take it 
away. The Jewish council gnashed with their teeth upon Stephen ; 
but his face shone like the face of an angel. There was the triumph 
of his calmness. He was stoned. He kneeled down, and said, " Lord 
Jesus, receive my spirit." Here was the triumph of his faith. He 
prayed, " Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." Here was the triumph 
of his charity. " When he had said this, he fell asleep." The softest 
expression is here used to describe the most violent death ; to intimate 
that calm and undisturbed spirit in which the protomartyr died. Here 


was the triumph of patience. The same remarks will apply to the 
whole case. Devout men carried him to his grave. They did not 
forsake even the bones of the honoured servant of Christ. They were 
ready to be stoned too ; and thus in all the first ages multitudes rushed 
forward to be baptized in the place of the dead ; for the spirit in which 
Christians suffered, and the hopes in which they died, carried the con- 
viction of the truth of their religion to the hearts of beholders, and 
kindled a hallowed ambition to wear the same crown of a glorious 

3. It triumphed over principles which dissocialized and oppressed 

Under the tyranny of various principles, which inflicted misery in 
innumerable forms upon mankind, it found the world groaning ; and it 
made war upon them all. It subdued them in many individuals ; and 
it planted itself against them in a warfare never to be terminated until it 
should subdue them throughout the world. 

These principles are too many to be separately dwelt upon ; but I 
select one, — selfishness. See how this fatal principle operated among 
the heathen. 

Look at their poor. The heathen world had no almshouses, no 
asylums for age, infancy, or misfortune. The ruins of palaces, tem- 
ples, theatres, and aqueducts meet the wondering eye of the traveller ; 
but there is not a ruin of which it can be said, " This was a house of 

Look at their slaves. The number of these unhappy persons was 
almost incredible. Some Roman citizens had from ten to twenty 
thousand of them, placed at the sole mercy of their owners, to be 
tortured or killed, as their savage tempers required. No laws were 
enacted for their protection ; for selfishness never suffered their indi- 
vidual nature to be connected with the common nature. The heathen 
lived only to themselves. Of blessing and benefiting others they had 
no notion. With them the only passion that combated selfishness was 
patriotism. They would give up many things for the state ; yet that 
was so unjust a principle, that it became only a kind of public selfish- 
ness, in which every individual had his interest. Patriotism was sel- 
fishness in another form. 

Look at their religion. It had no precepts of forgiveness or charity. 
It was merely form and name ; and left revenge and hardness of heart 
among the very virtues. 

Now look at the triumphs of Christianity over selfishness. The first 
general collection among the Gentile Churches was for the relief of 
poor strangers, the saints in Jerusalem ; and the apostle exults in it : 
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift," 2 Cor. ix, 15. And 
why need I dwell upon the many affectionate precepts of our religion ? 
" The poor ye have always with you ; and whensoever ye will ye may 
do them good. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them ; 
and them that suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body." 

Consider the manner in which Christianity regards slaves : " As ye 
would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them. Art 
thou called, being a servant ? Care not for it. But if thou canst be 
made free, use it rather." When Onesimus was converted by the in- 
strumentality of St. Paul, the apostle sent him back to his master, ex 


horting Philemon to receive him, " not now as a slave, but as a brother 

Consider the public spiritedness connected with Christianity : " Re- 
member the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed 
to give than to receive. Look not every man on his own things, but 
eveiy man also on the things of others." 

Look at the spirit of charity with which this religion is endued : " If 
thy brother sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in 
a day say, I repent, thou shalt forgive him. In malice be ye children ;" 
that is, be as free from it as children. 

4, But the Gospel especially triumphed in the salvation of men. 

This was its noblest triumph ; and in this it triumphed " in every 
place." It triumphed over the ignorance and obduracy of men. St. 
Paul draws a striking picture of a person coming into the assemblies 
of the Christians, where the truth of God was proclaimed, and the 
gracious power of the Holy Spirit exerted. " If all prophesy, and 
there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced 
of all, he is judged of all ; and thus are the secrets of his heart made 
manifest ; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and 
report that God is in you of a truth," 1 Cor. xiv, 24, 25. 

It triumphed over their gloomy apprehensions of futurity. Christ 
came to " deliver those who through fear of death were all their life 
time subject to bondage ;" and those who believe in him, not only " re- 
joice in hope of the glory of God," but " desire to depart, and to be 
with Christ, which is far better." 

It triumphed over their vices. " Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, 
nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 
nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, 
shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you : but 
ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name 
of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God," 1 Cor. vi, 9-11. 

It triumphed over death itself. " Them that sleep in Jesus," says 
St. Paul to the Thessalonians, " will God bring with him." Before 
the promulgation of the Gospel no such language could have been 
used among them. The apostle might walk in the burial place at 
Thessalonica, and truly exult while he marked the tombs of his con- 
verts, as them that slept in Christ, and anticipate the day when they 
should rise again, glorious and immortal, and with himself and all the 
pious dead be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, in order that they 
might be for ever with him. 

Such were the triumphs of the Gospel. We attend, 

II. To the agency by which they were effected : " Now thanks be 
unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh 
manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." 

All is ascribed to a Divine agency ; and without this they would 
have been, like others, powerless preachers. This agency was marked, 

1. In the selection of the instruments. 

Some of their qualifications were natural ; others, acquired ; others, 
supernaturally communicated : but it is impossible to see that variety 
of qualities brought into this sacred service without acknowledging the 
hand of God. 

It belongs to him to send forth his labourers ; and this supposes 


selection. There was the bold simplicity of Peter ; the soft persuasive- 
ness of John ; the fire of Stephen ; the pointed, searching, epigramma- 
tic turn of James. There was still a fit instrument in opposition, — 
Saul ; and he was seized in the very camp of the enemy by victorious 
mercy ; and the ardour, learning, and strength of that mighty spirit 
were bound for ever by zeal and love unquenchable to that sacred cause 
which he had persecuted. 

This adapted character of God's instruments is marked in all future 
times, and in the peculiar seasons of the Church's visitation peculiarly 
so. In the reformation what an adaptation of character do we witness ! 
Luther and Melancthon, though one in heart and judgment, differed 
greatly from each other. " I clear the ground," says Luther, " and 
Melancthon scatters the seed." The learning and moderation of Cran- 
mer, the judgment of Ridley, and the popular eloquence, the searching 
wit, and the downright honesty of Latimer, admirably qualified them to 
co-operate in the great work to which they were called. 

We see the same wise arrangement in still later times. The un- 
wearied activity, and the convincing and illuminating mind of Wesley, 
were combined with the hallowed vehemence of Whitefield, the devo- 
tional ardour of Fletcher and Pearce ; and the same diversity is ob- 
servable in the eminent men to whom the honour will be, in all future 
ages, accorded of being fathers of modern missions. 

In the ordinary ministry there is the same variety and adaptation. 
There are sons of thunder, and sons of consolation ; teachers of first 
principles, and those who carry on the believer to perfection; those 
who flash upon the conscience, and those who allure the affections. As 
in nature we have the fulminating cloud, and the bright sky ; the gen- 
tle breeze, and the resistless gale ; the descending torrent, and the 
insinuating dew ; while the sun, as the ruler of the atmosphere, and 
the lord of seasons, tempers and directs all, to form the perfect year, 
and cover the earth with plenteousness ; so God worketh all in all. 
"He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets ; and some, evangelists; 
and some, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for 
the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." 

2. In their personal experience. 

All other qualifications are nugatory and inefficient without this. 
The Gospel triumphed over the early ministers of Christ before they 
triumphed over the world. So necessary is personal experience, that 
neither preacher nor people can understand the Gospel efficiently with- 
out it. Who can know what true repentance is, but by his own broken- 
ness of heart 1 Who can know what faith is, but by the personal pos- 
session and exercise of that principle ? In the same manner only can 
any man understand the nature of a holy walk with God, of spiritual 
conflicts, and the renewal of the heart. Little does learning or study 
advance us in this knowledge. Without experience we know the Gos- 
pel but vaguely, and can only discourse about its truths in a vague 
manner. We may walk about Zion, and mark her bulwarks ; but un- 
less we enter into the temple of God, we can form but a very inade- 
quate conception of its glory, of the hallowed services which are there 
rendered to Him that dwells between the cherubim, and of the inter- 
course which his spiritual worshippers have with him. 

Here then was the agency of God. " He hath reconciled us to him- 


self by Jesus Christ," says the apostle ; " and hath committed unto us 
the ministry of reconciliation." He had won the heart to himself; and 
from that heart, inflamed with love and pity, they spoke to the world. 
In their ministry there were no cold dogmas ; there was no inflated 
rhetoric, fine and frigid, — the body of eloquence without the soul. 
They spoke with the intenseness of compassionate concern ; and they 
"persuaded men." 

3. This agency of God is shown in the effects produced. 
We have seen what these effects were, — the salvation of men ; and 
we need only fix upon the salvation of one individual to prove that a 
direct agency of God must be supposed. We know that an attempt 
has been made to account for the early spread of Christianity, by Gib- 
bon and other infidels, without Divine interposition. This is not sur- 
prising. They had no conception of Christianity but as a system of 
opinions. Their conduct is all natural and consistent ; for they had 
no notion of the work of God in the heart. The wonder is, that those 
who acknowledge the regenerating and saving effects of the Gospel 
should refer them to God rather in an indirect than a direct manner. 

Look, then, at the fact, the salvation of an individual ; and I ask, 
How is this to be accounted for, but by the direct agency of God ? 
What is that individual according to the Scriptures 1 Not a being who, 
having both will and power, only wants light. Far otherwise. In him 
dwelleth no good thing. The carnal mind is enmity against God. 
Now how is the Gospel to operate upon such a one independent of the 
influence of its Author ? We detract nothing from the perfection of the 
Gospel, nor the suitableness of the instruments by whom it is preach- 
ed. All is perfect, and adapted to answer the end designed. The 
perfect luminary of day throws his beams upon creation, and arrays it 
in the beauty of his reflected rays ; but to the sightless eye, light is 
darkness, and beauty gloom. And then, in regard to the agents, the 
minister may have a pleasant voice, and play skilfully upon the instru- 
ment ; but the hearer is deaf ; or, to use the metaphor of the text, he 
is " a savour of Christ," a sweet odour in itself. Yet as to diseased 
persons, such odours may be offensive and noxious ; so there is truth 
in the Gospel, but the man hates truth ; there is love, but his heart is- 
a heart of stone ; there is argument, but he is indifferent to the subject, 
or unwilling to be convinced ; and the odour of Christ is offensive to 
him who perishes, — that is who remains in his lost condition. 

My brethren, you see then what more is necessary ; a work of God, 
not merely without, but within, even in the heart. The necessity and 
reason of this rest upon man's fallen condition ; and that must be de- 
nied, or held unscripturally, before the doctrine of direct Divine influ- 
ence can be rejected. 

But we rejoice to see the bright demonstrations of this glorious and 
crowning doctrine ; that which makes the Gospel the " power of God 
unto salvation." Does the ignorance of the soul give way ? It is " God, 
who caused the light to shine out of darkness, who shines in the heart, 
and gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face 
of Jesus Christ." Is there a stirring of spiritual life ? " You hath he 
quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Is there faith? 
It is " the operation" and " the gift of God." Is the act of pardon 
passed ? God is present ; for " it is God that justifieth." How know I 


this ? How can I know it ? The Spirit who knows the mind of God, 
and searcheth all things, comes and bears the joyful testimony. Am 1 
renewed in the spirit of my mind ? There is a new creation, a making 
something out of nothing ; which is the peculiar work of God. Am I 
preserved in Christ Jesus ? He upholdeth this part of his work, as 
well as the natural creation, by the word of his power. We are kept 
by the power of God, through faith unto salvation. 

What a lesson is this to ministers, in all their labours to depend upon 
God for success ! " I have planted, and Apollos watered ; but God 
gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, 
neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase." 

What a lesson for you, my brethren, that, having all received this 
quickening influence, more or less, to empower you to hear, to turn to 
God, and to believe with the heart unto righteousness, you should be 
faithful to it in its various stages ! Are you in a state of penitence ? 
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved. Have you 
believed, so as to have tasted that the Lord is gracious 1 Go on unto 
perfection, and diligently persevere, till our Gospel fully triumphs over 
you, putting down all that is within you under the feet of Christ, and 
you triumph with him in glory. 

We have, 

III. The instrument by which all this is effected : the preaching of 
the Gospel, expressed in the text by the beautiful figure to which we 
have before adverted ; the manifestation of the odour of the knowledge 
of Christ. 

Odours were much used in the east. They revived the languid, and 
refreshed the weary, in those hot climates ; and hence they afforded a 
natural and elegant figure to express whatever was grateful and reviv- 
ing to the mind. This is the view which the apostle so often expresses 
in more literal language : " I count all things but loss, for the excel- 
lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." " I determined to- 
know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." To 
Jews and Greeks the preaching of Christ crucified was foolishness ; 
but to the saved it was Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of 
God. To them that remained in their perishing state, the same preach- 
ing is an odour of death ; to the saved it is an odour of life, — grateful 
and vital. 

What, then, was there in the knowledge of Christ to warrant this 
representation of it ? The qualities which make this knowledge so 
fragrant and grateful to saved men are too numerous to dv/ell upon ; but 
I shall select two as instances 

1. Its authority. 

That which has no authority from God is not religion, properly speak- 
ing ; for as the very word and idea of religion import, a mutual binding 
of man to God in faith and duty, and of God to man in promise and 
covenant, almighty God must be a party, both to prescribe his will, and 
engage himself by promises. If the religious systems of men, there- 
fore, had been as good as they were bad, they could have hs,d no 
authority. They embodied no commands of God, and contained none 
of his promises. However excellent they might have been in them- 
selves, they could only be regarded as speculations, and could therefore 
sustain no hope. 


On the contrary, here comes a religion from God, stamped and 
sealed, as such, visibly, and in the sight of all. Prove that it is from 
God, and it is no longer a speculation. If there is not proof, it is 
nothing but theory, hqwever beautiful. Hence the folly of those who 
would set up the internal evidence of the truth of Christianity against 
its external evidence. That alone would leave the question a mere 
matter of opinion. It is its miracles, its prophecies, and its mighty 
efficiency, that connect God with it, and settle the whole question. 

Behold, then, the reason of its reviving and grateful odour to " the 
saved." .They had no certainty in what most concerns man, even in 
religion. Like the dove of Noah, they found no rest for the sole of the 
foot. The spirit flew over a troubled, muddy, and limitless ocean. — 
The heavens above were dark and lowering ; and the element below 
heaved in restless and turbid waves. But in the Gospel they found 
rest. Wanted they truth? It is here assured to them; for what is 
from God is light, and no darkness at all. Inquired they for the will 
of their Maker ? Here he had prescribed it himself. Felt they the 
need of an atonement ? Here God himself had provided the Lamb for 
a burnt offering. Needed they the comfort of promises ? Here they 
were found proceeding from lips which could not lie. The very " book 
of the covenant is sprinkled with blood ;" and the Testament is ratified 
by the death of the Testator. Inquired they after future being ? The 
resurrection and ascension of Christ had deprived death of its sting, and 
brought life and immortality to light. Thus was the fainting spirit 
revived. " We have found truth !" might they exclaim, " the truth, 
the truth of God ; the truth which is according to godliness ; the truth 
which bringeth salvation !" The name of Christ was to them like oint- 
ment poured forth, diffusing all the powers of its vital fragrance. 
2. The second quality was its adaptation. 

There was nothing here but what the case of man required ; and there 
was every thing that it did require. Let us review the evidence of this. 
The number of human beings to whom the Gospel has been proposed 
is beyond calculation ; and their variety of circumstance is as great. 
If to one of them it has been unadapted, to that person it has been 
inefficient and useless. But if to all it has been equally adapted, and 
efficient to give light, life, comfort, and salvation, then, indeed, it is 
worthy of all acceptation. In this case it is not only from God, but 
manifestly embodies God's condescending love to man. 

Let us try this point. The true knowledge of ourselves is revealed 
in the knowledge of Christ. How many books have been written to 
display the human heart ; to lay open its hidden springs ; that men may 
see themselves, and be cured of their evils ! Yet how little of true 
knowledge of our nature most of them contain ! The greatest masters 
shall employ whole dramas in developing one passion ; and yet how 
little of themselves most men, after all, see in such performances ! How 
exceedingly partial are they at the best ! But suppose a thousand mil- 
lions of people in the world all looking into this perfect law. Every 
one sees his own picture. He feels that he sees it. " He is con- 
vinced of all ; he is judged of all." 

Take another point illustrative of the perfect adaptation of the pro- 
posed remedy to the case of man. It is declared to be a manifestation 
of special wisdom. Its wisdom is stated to be in this, the forgiveness 


of man through faith in a sacrifice of so peculiar a nature, that, while 
mercy is exhibited, the justice of God is honoured, and made even more 
illustrious. Now, we grant, that, till men know their case, they may 
stumble at this ; and the fragrance of the odour of this knowledge may 
not be felt. But when our real case is apprehended, what wonderful 
adaptation see we then ! To them who are saved Christ is the power 
of God, and the wisdom of God. Who, then, asks for a better sacrifice, 
than that exhibited in the Gospel ? Who flees to another refuge ? Not 
one. " Here is firm footing ; here is solid rock ;" and guilty fear gives 
place to filial confidence. Wherever the experiment is made, it is 
successful. None trust in Christ, and are confounded. 

Take a third instance of this wonderful adaptation. The Gospel pre- 
scribes virtues ; but we have nothing pushed out of the bounds and 
limits of practicability. In Christianity there are no imaginary creations, 
never to be reached ; no inflated and exaggerated pictures out of keep- 
ing with human condition ; there is no dissonance of principles. All 
that it prescribes is felt to be what every individual wants ; nay, pants 
after, if his heart be right. That humility, that meekness, that patience, 
that charity ; they are what I want, and what God has engaged to give. 

Finally, in the variety of human life, in this knowledge of Christ, I 
see all I want. 

I am never out of the range of the directions, promises, and hopes of 
the Bible. Youth cleanses its way by taking heed to it as the word of 
God ; age stays